Europe burns as Britain braces for record heat

STORY: Cameras captured the harrowing moment Angel Martin Arjona narrowly escaped a fiery end in Spain.

He was protecting his town in the Zamora region from a wildfire on Monday, just one of dozens burning through the country, when the blaze engulfed his excavator - forcing him to run for his life.

And in the neighboring region of Galicia, train passenger Francisco Perez described what he called a 'hellish situation'.

"It was just like spreading through the air with the air currents and maybe sparks that you couldn't even see but they were actually spreading and forming more and more fire on the ground, so.”

“Just like when the train was resuming its march I began smelling a little bit of a smoke, so that would have been really scary."

All across Southern Europe was a familiar scene, compounding fears of climate change.

A heatwave has sent temperatures soaring to blistering highs for more than a week, causing hundreds of deaths, and leaving the countryside dangerously dry, according to authorities.

That means fires that burn much longer, and spread much farther.

Thousands of firefighters from Portugal to France were struggling to contain the blazes.

Other people struggled simply to find any respite from the blazing sun.

"In a way, it (the heatwave) pleases me. Because people can realise that climate change has been on for a few years and that they are really in it. I am not 'happily' pleased, but it's a way for people to become aware."

And the heatwave is creeping north.

Temperatures in Britain are expected on Tuesday to reach a record-breaking 40 degrees Celsius, or 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

The government there has already triggered a national emergency alert, with some train companies and schools cancelling services on the day.

Britain's Luton airport was partly shut after its tarmac melted in the heat.