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Britain could hit a scorching 35C, sparking fears of even more wildfires

BY KATIE HODGE

Wildfires have hit the rest of the UK as the longest heatwave for seven years spread across Britain and forecasters warned temperatures could climb as high as 35C.

Mountain blazes tore across the south Wales' valleys while flames devastated swathes of Tentsmuir Forest in north east Fife, Scotland last night. London also experienced its worst grass fires since 2006.

The spate of hot weather is believed to have caused up to 760 premature deaths and weathermen warned that the hottest day of the year is yet to come.

The mercury – which reached reached 32.2C (90F) on Wednesday – is expected to rise to around 33C next week. Weathermen said there was a "slim" chance it could even hit 35C in the South on Tuesday or Wednesday. Forecaster Paul Mott said temperatures would cool slightly today in many areas but could reach 28C in the Highlands.

"It looks likely that the heatwave will return in the early part of next week when temperatures will be back in the low 30s," he said.

The weather is then expected to become more humid, bringing showers and thunderstorms in the West, between Monday and Wednesday, with the possibility that the mercury could rise to 35C. But they are unlikely to top the high of 36.5C recorded in Surrey in July 2006.

The Met Office has warned of an "elevated risk" of fires in the countryside following six consecutive days of plus 30C temperatures and a dramatic reduction in the average monthly rainfall.

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