THERE was no protests or chants over pending environmental disaster. There was no need – the heat told its own story.

All across Europe, and here in the UK, records tumbled as temperatures soared to danger levels.

Tragedy, too, as those hoping to enjoy the summer by water or simply cool off paid with their lives, including a 12-year-old girl. 

Elsewhere wildfires struck. Saturday it is predicted only to get unbearably worse. In the UK, first aiders are on stand-by at Glastonbury. 

READ MORE: How long will the heatwave last?

Officials at Wimbledon are nervously watching the forecast ahead of next week’s tournament. 

On the Continent, schools have been dousing pupils with water and nursing homes are equipping the elderly with hydration sensors as Europe battles against the elements. 

Several people have died across countries in incidents authorities are linking to the exceptional weather.

A major wildfire raged in Spain, sparked after a pile of chicken dung spontaneously combusted in the heat.

Several countries have reported record temperatures this week, and France hit its all-time heat record on Friday: 45.1C in the small southern town of Villevieille.

The French national weather service activated its highest level heat danger alert for the first time, putting four regions around Marseille and Montpellier in the south of the country under special watch.

About 4,000 schools closed because they could not ensure safe conditions, and local authorities cancelled many end-of-school-year carnivals.

Some criticised the government for going overboard, but prime minister Edouard Philippe defended the efforts after 15,000 people died in a heatwave in 2003 that woke France up to the risks.

“This heatwave is exceptional by its intensity and its earliness,” he told reporters.

“Measures have been taken for the most vulnerable people. But given the intensity of the heatwave, it’s the entire population who must be careful today ... both for oneself and for loved ones and neighbours.”

Italy put 16 cities under alerts for high temperatures, and civil security services distributed water to tourists visiting famed sites around Rome. 

Heat was blamed for the deaths of two people in Spain.

An 80-year-old man collapsed and died in the street in Valladolid, in north-west Spain, the agency said, and a 17-year-old boy died in the southern city of Cordoba after diving into a swimming pool and losing consciousness.

Four people have drowned so far in France this week. The health minister warned people to swim only in authorised areas. 

In Bury, a 12-year-old girl drowned in a river.  Greater Manchester Police said the girl was found by underwater search teams after officers were called to the River Irwell just before 8pm on Thursday.

READ MORE: Nation set for hottest day of the year

With the country set to see the hottest day of the year so far this weekend, police issued a warning about the dangers of cooling off in water. Detective Inspector Andrew Naismithsaid: “This is an incredibly tragic incident in which a young girl has lost her life, and my thoughts are with her family at this devastating time.

“We have a team of detectives working on this, but there are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances at this time.

“It’s tempting to go into the water to cool off, but I’d like to remind everyone of the dangers of playing near or swimming in rivers, lakes and reservoirs.”

The Met Office says the temperature could hit 34C on Saturday.