The heatwave persists on Thursday with a new amber warning for temperatures and red for forest fires.

The amber warning is in place from 12 noon till 5pm, when temperatures are expected to reach 43C inland and 34 in the highest mountains.

Schools on Thursday are shut due to a holiday and will open on Friday till 10.45am due to the forecast heatwave.

The Forestry Department reiterates warnings and calls for extreme caution during outings.

It urges people to avoid using machinery or tools that could cause a fire.

The department reminds that lighting fires outside designated areas for food preparation carries hefty fines of up to €50,000 and imprisonment for up to 10 years.

If anyone becomes aware of smoke or fire, they should call 1407 or 112.