Unusual heat sparks wildfires in Northern Spain

STORY: In the Basque Country, Asturias and Cantabria about 40 blazes were reported, according to regional emergency services.

Spain's national weather agency AEMET predicted on Thursday that it could be the hottest October since records began. It said that every day of the month, except October 1, had been warmer than the normal temperature experienced at this time of year.

Basque weather agency Euskalmet on Thursday raised the wildfire risk in the region to moderate and high, depending on the area.

Three wildfires near Bilbao were either extinguished or contained by Friday afternoon but firefighters said the risk of wildfires was still high and the orange alert would remain through the weekend.

Several brutal heatwaves with spikes well above 40C (104F) hit Europe during the summer, part of a global pattern of rising temperatures, widely attributed by scientists and climatologists to human activity.

Government figures indicate this year has been the worst year for wildfires in Spain with 260,000 hectares (642,500 acres) destroyed by blazes.