BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — As Serbia and the rest of the Balkans sizzled under scorching temperatures, an international group of experts tasked with assessing climate change warned that Europe faces the unappetizing prospect of more frequent and more intense heatwaves.

In a report Tuesday that involved an assessment of temperatures in the French city of Toulouse between June 26 and 28, World Weather Attribution said every heatwave occurring in Europe today "is made more likely and more intense by human-induced climate change."

They found the extreme conditions measured during that three-day period are five to ten times more likely now than they were in 1900, before greenhouse gas emissions from industry had a major effect on the atmosphere.

The group said the heatwave that struck large parts of Europe last week "broke several historical records ... in France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic and Spain."

The study hasn't been peer-reviewed yet, but the group uses methods that are widely considered valid in the scientific community.

With the heatwave moving toward eastern Europe, temperatures soared to 39 degrees Celsius (102.2 Fahrenheit) in Serbia on Tuesday, though showers in the evening could provide some relief.

Cisterns with drinking water have been parked in Belgrade parks with doctors warning elderly to stay indoors.

The surge in temperatures comes after weeks of unusually severe thunderstorms in parts of Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Bosnia and Croatia that have triggered floods and extreme humidity.

In Germany, thousands of firefighters, soldiers and civil defense personnel were battling a large wildfire Tuesday at an area used for military exercises in northern Germany after weeks of dry weather.

Officials said that the blaze in Luebtheen, about 170 kilometers (106 miles) northwest of Berlin, is the biggest in the history of Mecklenburg Western Pomerania state.

Stefan Sternberg, who heads the district administration, said some 600 hectares (1483 acres) of forest and brush are affected.

He said there's growing evidence the fire was started by arson. Also, the area hasn't been used for military maneuvers for several years, but left over ammunition means it's too dangerous for firefighters to access some areas from the ground and were using helicopters.


Frank Jordans contributed to this report from Berlin.

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