BERLIN — On Saturday, people flocked to parks and swimming pools across Western Europe for a breather during the early heat wave as the mercury rose above 40 degrees Celsius in France and Spain and hit 38 degrees Celsius in Germany.
Wildfire warnings are in place in the western Mediterranean region due to high temperatures and prolonged drought.
The European Commission’s emergency management service Copernicus said the fire risk was “extreme” or even “very extreme” in much of Spain, the French Rhone Valley, Sardinia, Sicily and parts of mainland Italy.
The 27 member states of the European Union have mobilized 12 fire planes and a helicopter to help countries fighting major wildfires this summer.
Meteorologists in France have described the situation as “truly exceptional” and their forecast calls for a maximum of 43°C on Saturday before thunderstorms bring cooler weather from the Atlantic.
Experts say an early heat wave is a sign of what’s to come as climate change makes extreme temperatures normally seen only in July and August now more likely in June.