Spain sizzles in record heat as fires blaze

Madrid (AFP) –


Spain saw its highest temperature on record on Saturday as a heatwave on the Iberian peninsula drove the mercury to 47.4 degrees Celsius (117.3 Fahrenheit), according to provisional data from the state meteorological agency.

The temperature peaked around five pm local time in the southern town of Cordoba, the agency said, passing the previous record set at the same measuring station in July 2017 by one-tenth of a degree.

"If confirmed, it would be the highest record reliably measured in Spain," agency spokesman Ruben del Campo said.

The intense heat wave hitting Spain continued on Sunday with five regions still on high alert over extreme temperatures.

The heat wave "will probably rank among among the most intense in living memory", according to the Del Campo newspaper.

The combination of the fierce heat and rise in suspended dust particles has also increased the fire risk, with the country remaining on high alert.

Twelve aircraft were on Sunday deployed to help fight a blaze in Azuebar, a municipality in Valencia, according to the regional government.

The blaze is threating part of the Sierra de Espadan Natural Park.

There were also fires of concern in central Avila province, where several towns have been evacuated.

Between 2011 and 2020, Spain registered twice as many heat waves as in the previous three decades, according to the agency. Scientists consider that this pattern of heat waves is an unequivocal sign of climate change that will only get worse.