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UK Weather: Wildfires Blaze As Heatwave Grows And Drought Spreads (PHOTOS)

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Sun-worshippers sweltered on the hottest day of the year so far on Wednesday - but in some parts of the UK temperatures were too high for comfort, after wildfires scorched the earth across England, Wales and Scotland.

The fire broke out as many parts of the UK sweltered in temperatures of above 20C (68F) and drought was declared in several new areas - but the warm weather is not due to continue into the weekend, according to forecasters.

In South Wales firefighters battled blazes for hours on Monday after dry grassland in Newport caught light and burned near to houses and a children's park.

The fires have been blamed on arsonists, but their large trail of destruction, which spread across 15 acres between a Territorial Army barracks and All-yr-yn, appears to be a result of the dry conditions sweeping the country.

At least 17 fire officers took 15 hours to bring the fire under control.

In Woking, Surrey, the UK's largest cemetery was also hit by a fire after 17 acres of heathland caught alight and burned, requiring 40 firefighters to put out

More than 230,000 people have been buried in Brookwood Cemetery's 500 acres of land since 1854.

John Clarke, historical consultant for the cemetery, told PA: "We would like to reassure anyone concerned about damage to memorials that it is largely the turf that has been fire-damaged."

He said: "The main damage was to turf which turned black as the fire moved across it.

"There would have been more serious implications for the cemetery if the fire had spread in a different direction."

One fire service manager for the area said the lack of rain had created a "tinderbox" and the "perfect recipe" for wildfires.

Other fires were reported in Yorkshire, near to the village of Thruscross, and across the Scottish highlands.

A spokeswoman for North Yorkshire Fire Service said a large number of firefighters were needed "due to the actual vastness of the moor" and it was burning over three different fronts.

One front is thought to be 200m long.

The Cairngorms National Park Authority warned that the fires represented a "real danger" to the public.

The authority said: "The extended dry and very warm weather means there is a real danger of wildfires in the Cairngorms National Park, putting people, habitats and wildlife at great risk."

However while the weather was blamed for the rise in fires, there are in fact a surprising number of wild blazes in the UK. Each year, there are around 79,000 wildfires in Britain - an average of 216 per day.

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