Portugal’s heatwave is expected to bring temperatures close to Europe’s record of 48C.
Eight places across the centre, South and East of the country have already broken their local temperature records in the unprecedented hot weather.
A temperature of 45.2C was recorded near Abrantes on Thursday, a town 93 miles north east of the capital Lisbon, the Portuguese Institute of Sea and Atmosphere (IMPA) said.
Temperatures in Portugal were predicted to keep building nationwide on Friday to around 45C, while Beja, in Portugal, is expected to record a peak of 47C on Saturday.
The World Meteorological Organisation said Europe’s record is 48C in Athens, Greece in 1977.
Nuno Moreira, from the IMPA, told Sky News: “At some places we have 45C, almost 46C, and today and tomorrow these temperatures could increase, so 47C perhaps.
“That’s maybe a temperature that might happen in the interior part of the country.”
Asked if Portugal’s weather could break the record for the continent, he replied: “Of course it’s possible, but we cannot be sure about that because our forecasts are saying that we might have 46C or 47C.”
Portugal’s highest temperature ever recorded was in the southeastern city of Amareleja 47.4C in 2003.
Emergency services have issued a red alert, placing extra services such as medical staff and firefighters on standby until Sunday.
The country’s civil protection agency reported 426 firefighters were putting out fires or checking alerts in the north and centre of the country.
Fires typically flare late in the day when the weather is hottest.
Heat warnings were also issued for 41 out of Spain’s 50 provinces where temperatures were expected to reach 44C.
Spain’s highest recorded temperature is 46.9C in the southern city of Cordoba last July.
Temperatures are being driven higher across the Iberian peninsula by a hot air mass moving northward from Africa.
It is also bringing dust from the Sahara Desert, meteorologists said.
Summer temperatures close to 40C are not unusual in southern parts of the Iberian peninsula.
In northern Europe, Sweden is still under threat from wildfire which in recent weeks have extended into the Arctic Circle.
The country’s civil contingencies agency warned of “a high risk” for wildfires in central and southern Sweden this weekend because of the continuing dry weather and strong winds.
The International Red Cross is calling on people in European countries affected by the heatwave to check on older relatives and neighbours as temperatures soar.
People in the UK are experiencing the second heatwave of the British summer, which is expected to falter midway through next week.
A Met Office spokesman said: “Essentially at the end of the week we’re looking at a bit of a North West/South East split in the weather.
“Northern and some western areas will often be cooler with some outbreaks of rain – particularly in Northern Ireland – and that could spread into southern and western Scotland.”