The majority of wildfires in France, Italy and Spain have now been extinguished or brought under control.

However, firefighters are still on alert in the worst affected countries as sizzling temperatures and strong winds risk reviving the flames.

Eight people have died in recent days following the wildfires in Mediterranean countries.

Tens of thousands of hectares of countryside have been devastated mainly in Italy, Spain, France and Greece.

New fires began in some of the worst hit areas, but also in Croatia, with the latest again blamed on arson.

The continued threat posed by weather conditions was underlined near the Spanish town of Las Hurdes where a blaze that appeared to have been brought under control flared up overnight due to strong winds, forcing the evacuation of over 500 people.

More than 400 firefighters were battling the blaze, which has so far ravaged some 500 hectares.

The interior ministry kept Spain on high alert for wildfires while the national weather office issued an 'orange' alert, its second-highest level, for eight provinces due to scorching temperatures of around 38C.

In neighbouring Portugal, which has suffered no major forest fires in recent days, its weather office put six districts in the centre and south of the country on 'maximum' alert for wildfires because of hot, tinder-dry conditions.

In Greece, firefighters took control of a blaze on the island of Zante that led coastguards to evacuate about 50 people from a beach late yesterday, although the region remained at risk from strong winds.

French firefighters have been battling a blaze which has raged since Thursday near Aullene on the Mediterranean island of Corsica, which has destroyed 3,500 hectares of forest and bush.

Another blaze that erupted near Marseille last week was deemed to be completely extinguished late yesterday after having charred over 1,000 hectares.

Fires that claimed two lives in Italy last week have been brought largely under control, with the exception of a blaze in a nature reserve in Sicily, the civil protection service said.

Between 15,000 and 25,000 hectares of land were devastated by the flames and, in Sardinia, initial estimates put property damage at around €80m.

In Spain, wildfires have over the past week devastated over 20,000 hectares of land, killed six firefighters and gutted dozens of homes.

In the northeastern region of Aragon, the worst affected region with more than 11,700 hectares lost to flames over the past week, three fires have been brought under control and firefighters are on the verge of getting the upper hand on three other active blazes, a regional government spokesman said.