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Budapest, Hungary

Festivalgoers cool themselves in the Danube River during the Sziget music festival on an island in Budapest, Hungary, Aug. 9, 2018. (Photo: Bernadett Szabo/Reuters)

Scorching heat wave persists in Europe

Europe’s scorching heat wave has killed nine people in a week in Spain, health authorities said Tuesday, as stifling temperatures kindled wildfires in the country and neighboring Portugal where a ferocious blaze encircled a resort town.

Weeks of nonstop sunshine and near-record temperatures have caused droughts and seen tinder-dry forests consumed by wildfires from the Mediterranean to the Arctic Circle, in what many fear could be the region’s new normal in an era of climate change.

The devastating effects of the heatwave were visible from space, according to images of swathes of arid landscape taken by the German astronaut Alexander Gerst from the International Space Station.

While the deadly hot spell is expected to ease in parts of western Europe in the coming days, firefighters in Spain and Portugal struggled to contain wildfires that have swept southern areas. (AFP)

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