People in Serbia, Montenegro advised to shelter indoors from heatwave

BELGRADE (Reuters) - People braving scorching temperatures sought relief in Belgrade's Ada Ciganlija lake, fountains and cafes on Thursday while the Serbian government ordered employers to protect outdoor workers from the heatwave.

Meteorologists forecast temperatures of around 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) throughout Serbia this week as winds from North Africa pushed a hot and dry front across the Balkans.

Health authorities and meteorologists declared a "red" weather alert and advised people not to venture outside. Belgrade's emergency service said its doctors intervened more than 100 times overnight, mainly treating people with heart and chronic conditions.

The Ministry of Labour and Employment told employers to organise outdoor work in such a way to avoid heavy physical labour and direct exposure to sun.

"I believe this is all due to climate change causing such temperatures," said 23-year-old student Vojislav Sumenkovic.

In neighbouring Montenegro, where health authorities also warned people to shelter out of the sun until late afternoon, tens of thousands of tourists flocked to Adriatic beaches, including the Ada Bojana resort on the border with Albania.

"It (heat) is kind of challenging, but we are in the water, on the beach," said Kolya, 35, a tourist from Germany.

In Greece on Wednesday, firefighters fought wildfires near Athens that forced dozens to flee their homes, and authorities said they believed the flames were the result of arson as well as hot, dry conditions.

(Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; editing by Mark Heinrich)