Yahoo! News Photo Staff

Scorching heat wave persists in Europe

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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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A sunflower blooms in between dried-out ones during hot summer weather on a field near the village of Benken, Switzerland, Aug. 6, 2018. (Photo: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters)

Images released by the European Space Agency appear to show that the fire — which began on Friday in the eucalyptus and pine forests in the hills on Monchique — is visible from the International Space Station (Photo: Alexander Gerst/AFP)

A couple watches an helicopter dropping water on a wildfire near Monchique, in Algarve, on Aug. 8, 2018. Spain and Portugal approached record temperatures at the weekend, with the mercury hitting 46.6 degrees Celsius (116 Fahrenheit) at El Granado in Spain and 46.4 C in Alvega, Portugal, according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). 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. (Photo: Carlos Costa/AFP/Getty Images)

Beach goers in Scheveningen, the Netherlands, Aug. 7, 2018. Media reports state that Europe is currently in the middle of a heatwave with European temperature records possibly broken in the coming days. (Photo: Jerry Lampen/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

People play amongst the fountains outside the Royal Festival Hall in London, Britain, August 3, 2018. (Photo: Henry Nicholls/Reuters)

A Swiss Air Force Super Puma helicopter loads water for cows in the Lac d’Hongrin due to an ongoing drought near Chateau d’Oex, Switzerland, Aug. 7, 2018. (Photo: Denis Balibouse/Reuters)

Swans sit in boats as they were caught at Hamburg’s inner city lake Alster, Aug. 7, 2018. Due to hot weather the swans are collected from waterways around the northern city of Hamburg, Germany, and taken to quarters where they usually spend the winter. (Photo: Fabian Bimmer/Reuters)

People cool off with water from a fountain during a hot summer day, in the basque city of Vitoria, northern Spain, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2018. (Photo: Alvaro Barrientos/AP)

Drought affected areas of Germany and central Europe are seen from the International Space Station. (Photo: Alexander Gerst/AFP)

A canal boat passes along the Regent’s Canal in King’s Cross, London, Monday, Aug. 6, 2018. The heatwave in London is continuing with temperatures reaching 30 degrees Celsius (85 degrees Fahrenheit) in parts of the UK on Monday, with 33 degrees Celsius possible in London. (Photo: Victoria Jones/PA via AP)

The river bed of the Rhine is dried on Aug. 8, 2018 in Duesseldorf, western Germany, as the heatwave goes on. (Photo: Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images)

Local firefighters spray water to cool down elephants of the Arene circus due to high temperatures on August 2, 2018 in Gilleleje, Denmark. (Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix/ AFP/Getty Images)

People use boats and pedalos as they pass an artwork, entitled ‘The Mastaba’, by Bulgarian artist Christo Vladimirov Javacheff, better known as ‘Christo’, on the Serpentine lake in Hyde Park in west London on Aug. 6, 2018. (Photo: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images)

A low water level of Elbe river is seen below Dresden’s old town district during hot weather on Aug. 7, 2018 in Germany. A heat wave and dry spell are persisting over Germany that this week is bringing temperatures to 38 degrees Celsius. Farmers are reporting plummeting harvests, while shrinking rivers are exposing munitions left over from World War II. (Photo: Matthias Rietschel/Getty Images)

A woman looks through the glass of the enclosure of a Polar bear as he cools off in the water at the zoo in Mulhouse, France on Aug. 3, 2018, as parts of Europe continue to swelter in an ongoing heatwave. (Photo: Sdbastien Bozon/AFP/Getty Images)

People on inflatable boats enjoy the weather on the Lake Lucerne in Sisikon, Switzerland, Aug. 5, 2018. (Photo: Denis Balibouse/Reuters)

Residents at the Ter Biest house for elderly persons refresh their feet in a pool on a hot summer day, in Grimbergen, Belgium, Aug. 3, 2018. (Photo: Yves Herman/Reuters)

Two women jump from a platform over the water at La Concha beach during a hot summer day in the basque city of San Sebastian, northern Spain, Friday, Aug. 3, 2018. (Photo: Alvaro Barrientos/AP)

People stand next to the fire before being evacuated at the village of Monchique, in southern Portugal’s Algarve region, Sunday, Aug. 5 2018. (Photo: Javier Fergo/AP)

A boy helps a dog to drink water on a hot summer day in the town of Kotor, Montenegro on Aug. 7, 2018, during an on-going heatwave in Europe. (Photo: Savo Prelevic/AFP/Getty Images)

A farmer prepares a wheat field for the next sowing on Aug. 6, 2018 in Biebesheim near Darmstadt, Germany. Farmers are fighting against the long-lasting drought and heat as they are unable to irrigate their fields on a large scale, which is resulting in large crop failures and income for them. (Photo: Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)

People cool off in the water during a hot summer day in Warsaw, Poland, Aug. 1, 2018. (Photo: Kacper Pempel/Reuters)

An eared seal cools off with an ice cube containing frozen fish at the Zoo of Vincennes in Paris, France, Thursday, Aug, 2, 2018. (Photo: Michel Euler/AP)

Men relax in the hot weather by the Marmara Sea in Istanbul, Turkey, Aug. 3, 2018. (Photo: Murad Sezer/Reuters)

Fish, found dead in the Rhine River, lie in a box in Neuhausen am Rheinfall, Switzerland, Aug. 6, 2018. (Photo: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters)

Cows drink water from the Lac d’Hongrin during an ongoing drought near Chateau d’Oex, Switzerland, Aug. 7, 2018. (Photo: Denis Balibouse/Reuters)

A boy plays in a fountain on a hot summer day in Brussels, Belgium, Aug. 6, 2018. (Photo: Yves Herman/Reuters)

A boy dives off rocks into the sea at sunset in Quiberon, north-western France on August 3, 2018. (Photo: Charly Triballeau/AFP/Getty Images)