Portugal’s government has issued a health and forest fire warning due to temperatures in the country, with the mercury expected to reach 43 °C next week.
Large swathes of Portugal have been placed on alert due to the “very high risk” of forest fires and scorching temperatures.
Residents and tourists in western European countries have been urged to exercise caution due to the threat of wildfires.
The country is in the midst of severe drought due to soaring temperatures caused by the effects of man-made climate change.
In the coming days, the mercury is likely to exceed 43 °C, further drying out the tinder-dry countryside.
The Portuguese government declared an eight-day state of alert, five years after wildfires killed 100 people in a single summer.
Restrictions adopted today include banning public access to forests considered especially at risk, prohibiting the use of agricultural machinery that can produce sparks, and banning fireworks commonly used at summer festivals.
More than 70 municipalities in the districts of Santarém, Leiria, Coimbra, Viseu, Castelo Branco, Portalegre, Guarda, Vila Real, Bragança, and Faro have been declared at maximum risk of rural fire, according to the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and Environment.
“Faced with weather forecasts for the coming days, which point to a significant upsurge in the risk of rural fires, the ministers of National Defense, Interior Administration, Health, Environment, and Climate Action, and Agriculture and Food, have today determined the declaration of the alert situation throughout the continent,” said a statement from the Interior Ministry.
The European Commission predicted earlier this year that the summer of 2022 would be particularly punishing for those living in the hottest parts of the continent.
France, Spain, and Italy have already suffered periods of terribly high temperatures.
Having cooled after several weeks of temperatures hovering around 40°C, the mercury is forecast to rise back up to 42°C in parts of Spain over the weekend.
June rainfall in Spain was about half the 30-year average, and the country’s reservoirs are averaging 45 percent of capacity.
Italy has also suffered a prolonged heat wave and is experiencing its worst drought in 70 years.
The outlook in the UK further north is significantly better over the next week.
Much of southern England will enjoy temperatures above 30°C next week as a period of warm but not sweltering weather sets in over the islands.