France hit its all-time heat record Friday: 113 F degrees (45.1 degrees Celsius) in the small southern town of Villevieille. The French national weather service activated its highest-level heat danger alert for the first time. About 4,000 schools closed in France. Schools that stayed open worked to keep kids cool. “Measures have been taken for the most vulnerable people,” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said. Cooling rooms were opened in some municipal buildings and mist showers were installed in the streets. Italy put 16 cities under alerts for high temperatures, and civil security services distributed water to tourists.
More than 600 firefighters and six water-dropping aircraft were battling the worst fire in two decades in the Catalonia region in Spain, Friday. In Berlin, water cannons was used by the police on city trees, to cool them down. Many European cities are not designed to deal with such temperatures. Air conditioning is less common and public transportation systems often struggle. The heat wave is unusual because such episodes of intensely hot weather are more common during July and August.