With severe drought and strong winds, forest fires continue to devastate huge areas in parts of southern Europe and sometimes cost lives. The sweltering heat not only lasts, but spreads.

There are now also warnings in northern France. Germany and Great Britain also have to prepare for high temperatures at the beginning of next week.

According to the meteorological institute Aemet, it will be extremely hot again on Sunday in large parts of Spain. In the south, in the western center and in the north along the Ebro River, temperatures could rise to well over 40 degrees from midday. Only from Monday could there be a slight cooling to around 35 degrees.

The situation in Portugal is similar. But the many forest fires are far from being stopped by the slight drop in temperature. The forests are far too parched, bone dry after a dry winter and spring. There are also many resinous conifers that seem to be exploding.

The flames shoot up into the sky in pillars of fire with unbelievable heat. What remains is a grey-black lunar landscape.

Some harrowing scenes are taking place in the rural regions. Thousands of people in the two countries had to flee their homes and farms because of the approaching flames, some five days ago. “I burned 130 beehives,” a farmer in the western Spanish region of Caceres complained to the Spanish state TV broadcaster RTVE. Another reported that his 40 sheep and his horse died in fire, others that their cattle died of thirst because they were not allowed to go to their farms.

It is difficult to estimate what damage the fires will cause in nature conservation parks and among wild animals. “It will take years for the landscape here to recover,” said one observer of the flames approaching Monfragüe National Park.

Thousands of firefighters are in action non-stop. The crash of a single-engine aircraft in northern Portugal, in which the pilot died, showed how dangerous this is. In Greece, too, two crew members died when a fire-fighting helicopter crashed on Wednesday. In France, firefighters injured themselves fighting the flames.

The weekend showed once again how difficult the deployment of the rescue services is. On Saturday morning, firefighters had contained a major fire on the island of Crete – by noon the situation was out of control again. This was mainly due to the stormy winds that regularly blow across the Aegean in summer. They propel walls of fire, reignite embers, and help sparks ignite more fires.

Similar scenes played out in Italy. The fires at the popular seaside resort of Bibione in the north caused more excitement. There, several tourists escaped into the sea on Friday because of the forest fires. Firefighters initially brought the flames under control, but fires broke out again in places on Saturday.

The authorities in Sicily issued the highest danger level for forest fires on Sunday. The forecasts of civil protection in Sardinia also included an increased risk of forest fires in the center from north to south on Sunday.

There is also a high risk of forest fires in southern France. A forest fire south of Bordeaux that had been raging for days stabilized in the meantime, but then flared up again, according to the responsible prefecture of the Gironde department. And another devastating wildfire in the area is being carried on and on by shifting winds.

Redemptive rain is not foreseeable at first. Temperatures are rising in large parts of the country. Heat warnings are now also in North-West Brittany.

While it was comparatively cool in Germany, considerable heat with maximum values ​​of up to 40 degrees is also expected here for the coming days. According to the forecast of the German Weather Service (DWD) on Saturday, the provisional peak should be reached on Tuesday. In the southwest and west, the 40-degree mark could possibly be cracked.

According to the DWD, the highest temperatures in the south-west will be between 25 and 31 degrees on Sunday.

Temperature records were even expected in the UK early next week due to the heat that was approaching. The British weather service Met Office issued a red weather warning for the first time due to heat.