The dry weather has led to increased calls for a ban on disposable barbecues, over fears they could lead to wildfires. Retailers have been urged to follow the lead of Marks & Spencer, which announced it would stop selling them across the UK this summer.
The Met Office’s fire severity index will reach “exceptional” for a swathe of England by the weekend.
Tony Wardle, the Met Office’s deputy chief meteorologist, said: “Heatwave criteria look likely to be met for large areas of the UK later this week, with the hottest areas expected in central and southern England and Wales on Friday and Saturday.
“Temperatures could peak at 35C, or even an isolated 36C on Saturday.
“Elsewhere will see temperatures widely into the high 20Cs and low 30Cs later this week, as temperatures build day on day through the week due to an area of high pressure extending over much of the UK.
“Coupled with the high daytime temperatures will be continued warm nights, with the mercury expected to drop to only around low 20Cs for some areas in the South.”
The little rain that is forecast is expected to only hit the North West, where there will be scattered showers.