People walk in Cordoba, Spain. Photo/sputnik
MADRID – Incredibly hot temperatures blanketed Spain and Portugal, putting April in the record books.
Both countries experienced severe initial heatwaves that have since raised fears of potential forest fires in the region.
The heatwave has raised fire fears among Spanish authorities. The Spanish government started its fire control campaign on Friday, a month and a half earlier than usual.
The new record saw Spain’s Cordoba hit a sweat-inducing 38.8 degrees Celsius and Portugal’s Mora hit an astonishing 36.9 degrees Celsius.
The heatwave is thought to be the result of hot, dry air masses from Africa, which not only increases the risk of forest fires in both countries but also the potential for drought.
Current weather conditions are particularly worrying as Spain endured its hottest year last year, with climate change putting nearly 75% of the country’s land at risk of desertification.
This meant the land became increasingly arid, with vegetation dying and the soil becoming less fertile, making it more difficult for farmers to grow crops and for animals to graze.
In addition to the environmental impact, heat waves also increase public health risks because high temperatures can cause heat exhaustion and heat stroke, especially in vulnerable groups such as the elderly and young children.
The situation has become so severe at this time that schools in Spain have been forced to change their schedules due to the heat.