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Europe battles wildfires amid massive heat wave

iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Europe is still experiencing a major heat wave, but forecasters promise some respite over the next 24 hours as rain in Scandinavia and thunderstorms across the United Kingdom help bring temperatures down.

In Portugal, an oppressive four-day wildfire in the south of the country flared up again Tuesday, a day after the Portuguese Civil Protection Agency said firefighters had contained some 95 percent of the blaze.

France is still in the midst of a heat wave, with temperatures in Paris hitting 97 degrees. French publication The Local dubbed the day "Terrible Tuesday" as temperatures in some parts of the country were expected to hit 99 degrees. The Local reports traffic is being curbed in both Lyon and Paris to try to reduce air pollution.

France's national weather service said this heat wave could be among the "top three" hottest on record.

In Spain, more than 2,000 people have been evacuated in the Valencia region due to almost a dozen separate wildfires.

Wildfires in Sweden are finally under control after rainstorms Monday night. And in Finland, one Helsinki supermarket opened its doors last weekend to customers seeking refuge from the heat, according to a video posted to the store's Facebook page. On Saturday night, 100 people slept in the cool aisles next to the frozen vegetables.

In Ireland, wildfires have revealed a World War II-era "Eire" signal, under the charred brush, designed to signal to air crews that they were over neutral Irish territory. The word Eire means Ireland in the Irish language. The Defense Forces Air Corps noticed the landmark while helping fight the fires.

Meanwhile, in England, people are eagerly awaiting the thunderstorms forecast for Tuesday evening to help cool things off.

The Met Office, the U.K.'s national weather service, issued a yellow alert for the southeast of the country, warning that "frequent lightning may occur, along with heavy rain."

The weather agency added that "large hail and sudden strong gusts of wind" are also likely to hit eastern England.

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