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Europeans braced Thursday for the expected peak of a sweltering heatwave that has sent temperatures soaring above 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), with schools in France closing and wildfires in Spain spinning out of control.
Governments warned citizens to take extra precautions, with the high temperatures also causing a build-up of pollution, and emergency calls to hospitals increased.
Exceptional - Summer - Heatwave - Thursday - Friday
Exceptional for arriving so early in summer, the heatwave will on Thursday and Friday likely send thermometers above 40 C in France, Spain and Greece.
A forest fire in Torre del Espanol in Spain's northeastern Catalonia region raged out of control, devouring land despite the efforts of hundreds of firefighters who worked through the night.
City - Milan - Homeless - Man - Train
In the Italian city of Milan, a 72-year-old homeless man was found dead at the main train station after falling ill due to the heatwave, the local authorities said.
Across Europe people frolicked in fountains to stay cool while zookeepers handed out cakes of ice packed with fish, mango or cherries to keep the animals cool.
Health - Minister - Agnes - Buzyn - People
French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said people had to be prepared for the peak of the heatwave and expressed irritation that some appeared not to be taking the advice on board.
"We see citizens who are quite irresponsible and continue to go jogging between midday and 2:00 pm," she told France 2 TV.
Parents - Children - Car - Shopping - Hat
She complained also of seeing "parents who leave their children in the car to do some quick shopping or leave them without a hat in the open air."
Some four days into the heatwave, Buzyn said French authorities were seeing an increase in the number of calls to emergency services and that she was concerned there would be an influx of people going to hospital.
All-time - Record
The average maximum temperature recorded Wednesday in France of 34.9 C was already a record for the month of June, said state...
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