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Britain was counting the cost of the hottest day in its history on Wednesday after fires destroyed dozens of buildings in unprecedented 40ºC weather.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said Tuesday was the fire brigade’s busiest day since the Second World War as the extreme heat and bone-dry grass set homes and warehouses ablaze.

There were 16 firefighters injured and 41 properties destroyed in London as firefighters struggled to respond to 2,600 calls and major fires that needed 10 or more fire engines to douse them, Mr Khan told Sky News.

Dramatic footage showed smoke and flames erupting around the country as temperatures hit a peak of 40.3ºC in Coningsby, Lincolnshire. The previous record of 38.7ºC was beaten in 34 places and equalled in another five.

Six sites, mostly in Greater London, had temperatures reach or exceed 40ºC. Scotland experienced its hottest day on record, with the temperature reaching 34.8ºC in Charterhall in the Scottish Borders, Met Office provisional figures showed.


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