Chancellor for the Duchy of Lancaster Kit Malthouse MP told the House of Commons: "In tinderbox conditions they have dealt with dozens of wildfires around the country over the past 24 hours. Fifteen Fire & Rescue Services declared Major Incidents and handled emergency calls the length and breadth of the country.
"Sadly, at least 41 properties have been destroyed in London, 14 in Norfolk, five in Lincolnshire, and smaller numbers elsewhere. On behalf of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, I would like to pass on our sincere condolences to those who have lost their homes or business premises and I know my Right Honourable friend the Secretary of State is working closely with local authorities on this."
In Yorkshire, a serious blaze occurred in Barnsley when a row of houses in the Moorland Avenue area was consumed by flames, with crews continuing to battle fires elsewhere in the area.
Doncaster Council said a major blaze in Clayton also spread to three residential properties and there were reports of houses on fire in the Kiverton Park and Maltby areas of Rotherham.
In Wennington, east London, a devastating blaze destroyed two rows of terraced houses, four other homes, as well as outbuildings, garages, stables and cars and affected 40 hectares of grassland, LFB said.
And in Dagenham, a grassland fire destroyed and damaged houses and vehicles.
Firefighters in Norfolk were called to more than 80 incidents on Tuesday, including one that started in a field in the village of Ashmanhaugh and spread to two homes.
Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service said it had been called to more than 60 incidents, 38 of which were fires in the open, describing the situation as “unprecedented”.
London Ambulance Service said it had taken 13,400 calls to 999 over the two days, the equivalent of a call every 13 seconds.
Early data shows that on Tuesday, the service saw a ten-fold increase in incidents related to heat exposure compared to last week, and an 8% increase in people fainting, it said.
Heatwaves are being made more intense, frequent and longer by climate change, and scientists said it would be “virtually impossible” for the UK to have experienced temperatures reaching 40C without human-driven global warming.
Scientists also warn that climate change is increasing fire danger across the UK – and people need to be prepared for it.
Simon Clarke, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, told Sky News that the fires were a “warning sign” about the impact of climate change.
“This is a remarkable, unprecedented event and something which obviously, because people have been saying, we are not used to seeing in this country,” he said.
“What we’ve seen in recent days is not normal and it is a warning sign.”
On Wednesday morning protesters from Just Stop Oil climbed motorway signs on the M25 and caused disruption over what they describe as the Government’s “inadequate preparations” for climate change.
Their actions were causing nine-mile tailbacks on the M25 anti-clockwise, with the National Highways website warning of delays of more than an hour.
The searing heat set a provisional new record for the hottest day ever seen in the UK, of 40.3C, in Coningsby, in Lincolnshire, beating the previous record of 38.7C in Cambridge three years ago, by 1.6C.
A total of six sites, mostly in Greater London, saw temperatures reach or exceed 40C.
Scotland experienced its hottest day on record, with the temperature reaching 34.8C in Charterhall in the Scottish Borders, Met Office provisional figures showed.
Wednesday is set to still be very warm for most areas, but temperatures will be well down on Tuesday’s highs.
A yellow warning for thunderstorms has been extended to cover a large swathe of eastern England from 12 noon to 10pm on Wednesday.
The Met Office said that while many places will only see relatively small amounts of rain, some slow-moving torrential downpours are possible.
Where these occur there could be 20-30mm (0.8-1.1 inches)of rain in an hour and in some spots 50mm (2 inches) in three hours.