Hot weather LIVE: Massive wildfires across the country, travel and NHS chaos | Weather | New

MORE THAN 20 wildfires raged across Portugal and several burned in western Spain on Wednesday, threatening villages and disrupting tourist vacations amid a heatwave that meteorologists say will will cause temperatures to soar into the 40 degrees Celsius.

In France, about 800 firefighters, supported by six water bomber planes, were fighting two forest fires in the southwest, which have already caused the evacuation of thousands of campers.

In Portugal’s southern Algarve region, authorities blocked access to the luxury resort and golf course of Quinta do Lago as thick plumes of smoke rose from a nearby area.

Richard Marques, a civil protection officer in the area, said: “A fire is entering an urban area, with lots of dry vegetation which, with small sparks, quickly becomes a secondary fire. We are worried and it is what we tell people.”

In the central district of Leiria, north of Lisbon, where temperatures soared to 45°C, authorities blocked a major highway. Flames and thick smoke were visible on both sides of the road, while helicopters and planes dropped water.

In the Extremadura region of western Spain, firefighters evacuated a few hundred villagers overnight as a precaution and continued to fight a blaze that spread to the province of Salamanca on Tuesday , in the region of Castile and Leon.

Parts of the regions of Extremadura, Andalusia and Galicia were on red alert for extreme heat, Spanish weather service AEMET said, adding that temperatures could exceed the previous record high of 47.4C for the whole of Spain. Spain established in August 2021, and 40.7°C in the capital Madrid. .