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Wildfire relief to be limited this weekend as blazes tear through Portugal, France

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Wildfires raging on Portuguese soil have killed four people earlier this week, while blazes damaged communities near Marseille, France.

While the weather will improve for firefighters near Marseille, no widespread wildfire relief is expected from southern France to Portugal's Madeira Islands into this weekend.

One person was killed in mainland Portugal's central Santarem region as the Madeira blaze claimed three other lives.

The latter blaze destroyed 40 homes and a five-star hotel in the hills above the capital of Funchal, according to Reuters.

No fatalities have been reported near Marseille. The blaze spared the city but caused damage in the neighboring towns of Pennes-Mirabeau and Vitrolles.

Two people sustained injury, one seriously, as about 20 to 25 homes and at least 6,670 acres were charred, according to CBS News.

High pressure building across western Europe will lead to improving weather conditions around Marseille. Gusty winds will lessen on Friday and humidity levels will increase as the winds shift and blow in from the Mediterranean Sea.

"The fuels become less flammable when humidity increases because they pull moisture out of the air," AccuWeather Meteorologist and firefighter Evan Duffey said. "Then during the overnight if you get dew, that is even better because heat is used to evaporate that water before any more burning can occur."

Wildfire relief will not come as readily to many other areas from southern France to the Madeira Islands.

High pressure will keep needed rain absent from these areas with continued low humidity, away from the coast, and rising temperatures.

"With a lack of rain and dry ground, there is a greater chance for a fire to erupt," AccuWeather Meteorologist Tyler Roys said.

The high pressure will prevent gusty winds from developing in many areas. The one main exception will be the Madeira Islands, which will continue to be buffeted from winds blowing in from the Strait of Gibraltar and eastern Atlantic Ocean.

Persistent winds of 15-40 km/h (10-25 mph) will easily fan existing or new wildfires.

Gusty winds will continue to whip Madeira early next week as spotty thunderstorms return to parts of southwestern Europe.

"The spotty thunderstorms Monday into Tuesday could spark some new blazes," Roys said. "Not everyone will get a thunderstorm and the rain will be good, but there is that negative aspect of lightning."

The spotty thunderstorms will occur ahead of a storm system that should deliver more showers from northern Portugal to southern France around Wednesday and Thursday of next week, as well as trim the heat in southwestern Europe.

While locally breezy winds will develop over mainland areas, the gusty wind flow over the Madeira Islands will finally be disturbed by this system.