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Portugal battles major wildfire as blistering heat continues across Europe

WATCH: Over 1,000 firefighters have been deployed to tackle a fourth day of wildfires in the Algarve region of Portugal.

Emergency services in Portugal kept up their fight Monday against a four-day wildfire on the south coast that threatened to engulf a hillside town overnight, as sweltering weather continued in Europe.

The Civil Protection Agency said 44 people required medical assistance as the blaze passed by the outskirts of Monchique, 250 kilometers (155 miles) south of Lisbon, in the dark. A 72-year-old woman was seriously hurt.

WATCH: Near record-breaking temperatures as heatwave scorches parts of Europe

Near record-breaking temperatures as heatwave scorches parts of Europe
Near record-breaking temperatures as heatwave scorches parts of Europe

Authorities said that more than 1,100 firefighters with 327 vehicles and eight aircraft were battling the blaze that erupted amid a heatwave caused by a mass of hot air from North Africa.

People watch a fire before being evacuated in the Algarve region on Sunday.

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The rest of Europe has also felt the torrid recent weather.

In France, where four nuclear reactors have been temporarily closed due to the heat, three cities banned the most polluting cars from the roads because of heat-linked ozone pollution.

WATCH: U.K. heatwave causes travel chaos for air and rail passengers

U.K. heatwave causes travel chaos for air and rail passengers
U.K. heatwave causes travel chaos for air and rail passengers

The heat wave in France is expected to last until Thursday, with temperatures peaking Tuesday.

In Norway, authorities warned motorists to watch out for reindeer and sheep taking shelter from the heat in tunnels.

Neighboring Sweden has been fighting an uncommon number of wildfires this summer, even above the Arctic Circle, and a European Union official pointed his finger at climate change.

“We are facing a new reality,” EU Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Christos Stylianides said. As a result, the EU must become “collectively (be) better prepared and stronger in responding to multiple disasters across the continent,” he said.

READ MORE: Spain, Portugal brace for record high temperatures amid scorching European heatwave

After four days of intense heat that broke some records in Portugal, with temperatures surpassing 45 C (113 F), Portuguese authorities forecast a cooler period beginning Monday. The Algarve wasn’t expected to exceed 30 C (86 F), while Lisbon was expecting 33 C (91 F).

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Parts of the south and northeast of the country remained at “extreme risk” of wildfires, however, according to the national weather agency’s forecast.

The falling temperatures helped create “much more favorable” conditions for firefighters tackling the Monchique blaze, local fire chief Abel Gomes told a news conference.

Spain sent two Canadair water-dropping planes across the border Monday to help efforts around Monchique.

Overnight, dozens of homes and a hotel were evacuated around the town of about 2,000 people which is known for its spa.

The wind-driven fire has been racing across tinder-dry pine and eucalyptus forest in a largely inaccessible hill range behind the famous beaches of Portugal’s Algarve vacation region.

Plumes of black smoke have blown across beaches popular with European tourists.

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