A hosepipe ban has been threatened as a ‘tropical’ heatwave has transformed Britain’s parks, beauty spots and fields into dustbowls – with Thames Water telling users to turn off their hoses and sprinklers.
Wildfires have been reported on parched ground in Norfolk, Essex and North Yorkshire in recent days – while a huge blaze has been burning on Ministry of Defence land on Salisbury Plain for more than 48 hours.
Fire services are urging people to go for picnics instead of barbecues following a spate of blazes, with several grass fires across the UK blamed on barbecues abandoned in rural areas after use as people flock outdoors.
Firefighters in Northamptonshire were called to the scene of a grass shrubbery fire caused by discarded disposable barbecues on Sunday, while Warwickshire attended ten outside fires that same afternoon.
Following lower-than-average rainfall for most of the past year and a very dry spring and early summer, Thames Water and Yorkshire Water are among those warning reservoirs and other resources are lower than normal.
In a text message send to users today, Thames Water said: ‘Demand for water is high in your area. To help keep taps flowing, please turn off sprinklers and hoses and only use what you need. Thank you.’
Hosepipe bans are not currently expected – but people are being urged to turn off taps when brushing their teeth or washing dishes, only run dishwashers when full and switch the garden hose for watering cans.
Warm weather conditions will remain in place for much of this week for the majority of England and Wales, with temperatures of up to 30C (86F) today before they fall to maximums of around 27C (81F) for the next three days.
Last night was the second ‘tropical’ night in a row – a declaration made when temperatures do not fall below 20C (68F) all night. The lowest temperature in London overnight was 21.5C (70.7F) on what was the UK’s warmest night of the year so far – one day after minimum overnight temperatures of 20.5C (68.9F) in Sheffield.
The heatwave will intensify from Sunday when an amber warning for extreme heat comes into force – with forecasters expecting highs of 38C (100F) or even more. The all-time UK record is 38.7C (101.7F) set in 2019.
Very high temperatures are also being seen in Spain, Portugal and France this week – with Seville hitting 42C (108F) amid a lack of rainfall, wildfires visible in Lisbon and temperatures of up to 39C (102F) in parts of France.
PEMBROKESHIRE: Low water levels on the Carew River next to Carew Castle this week (left) compared to normal (right)
HAMPSHIRE: Very dry grass over Southsea Common this week (left), compared to normal green conditions (right)
EAST SUSSEX: Hove Lawns in East Sussex near Brighton are also looking very dry (left) compared to normal (right)
WILTSHIRE: Dry ground around Stonehenge this week (left) amid the warm weather – compared to its normal look (right)
LONDON: Dry ground at Greenwich Park in South East London today (left) compared to its normal greener look (right)
LONDON: Dry grass on Blackheath Common in South East London this week (left) compared to normal conditions (right)
WEST YORKSHIRE: Scammonden Water which supplies Huddersfield is seen this week (left) – and with higher levels (right)
LONDON: Tooting Common in South London looks brown today (left) compared to more normal green conditions (right)
LONDON: Scorched grass seen at Hackney Marshes in East London this week (left) and when the grass is greener (right)
LONDON: Dry ground on Primrose Hill in North London today as the current heatwave and lack of rain makes the grass brown
GREATER MANCHESTER: Low water levels are seen at the Dove Stones reservoir in Saddleworth amid the heatwave
KENT: A drone view of the dry ground around Leeds Castle near Maidstone following weeks of little to no rain
SOUTH WALES: Low water levels are seen at the Llwyn Onn Reservoir in Wales as the UK continues to endure a heatwave
LONDON: A man takes a photo of dry ground on Parliament Square in front of the Houses of Parliament in Westminster today
NOTTINGHAM: Scorched grass at Forest recreation ground in Nottingham this week as the heatwave continues
LONDON: An aerial view of a very dry Richmond Park in South West London last week as the hot weather continues
KENT: Dry fields surround the The Hop Farm in Paddock Wood this week following a long period of very little rainfall
LONDON: An aerial view of a very dry Wimbledon Common in South West London last week as the heatwave continues
WORCESTERSHIRE: Dry fields in Malvern as public parks turn yellow and the UK heatwave continues this week
LONDON: Dry ground on Hampstead Heath in North London today as the heatwave and lack of rain makes the grass brown
LEICESTER: Dry grass at Abbey Park in Leicester city centre this week as the dry weather continues for England
KENT: A drone view of Bewl Water Reservoir near Lamberhurst this week, where sand can be seen near the jetty in the water
LONDON: Deckchairs are laid out on the dry ground of Hyde Park in London today as the heatwave continues
NORTH YORKSHIRE: An aerial view of what is left of crops that were on fire earlier this week during a blaze near Ripon
WILTSHIRE: The scene on Salisbury Plain yesterday where wildfires have been spreading amid the heatwave conditions
DORSET: An aerial view of a solar farm in Verwood, Dorset, taken yesterday – after it suffered a major fire on Monday
PORTUGAL: A plane takes part in firefighting operations at Espite in Ourem today as wildfires destroy a stretch of forestland
SPAIN: Tourists use hats to cover their heads from the sun as they walk in front of the Puente Nuevo in Ronda yesterday
FRANCE: A wildfire burns through Landiras today after two fires destroyed nearly 1,700 hectares of pine trees in Gironde