Fires in southwestern France destroy more than 10,000 hectares of forest

Four days after the start of the fires, firefighters from the Gironde department continued this Saturday a “titanic” fight to put out two fires that devastated more than 10,000 hectares of forest and forced the evacuation of more than 14,000 people in the southwest of France.

The advance of the fire comes right in the middle of a widespread heat wave that is expected to continue throughout the weekend in France.

“Several fires are still active in France, I closely follow the operations,” Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin wrote on Twitter on Saturday night.

The official delivered an updated balance after the fires: “10,000 hectares burned in Gironde and thousands of people evacuated. (…) In Bouches-du-Rhône, the fire is out.”

In the municipalities of Landiras and Guillos, southeast of Gironde, the situation was still “critical” at night, with “more than 7,000 hectares” burned, the prefecture reported in a press release.

In total, “more than 14,000” residents and tourists had to evacuate urgently and seven shelters and a unit were arranged to attend to medical and psychological emergencies.

“We work on the sides to provide a solution. This is surveillance at all times, day and night, there is no rest,” reported the communication manager of the Gironde Departmental Fire and Rescue Service, Laurent Dellac.

The fires, which to date have not caused fatalities, began with the heat wave that has hit France since Monday, and which is spreading mainly in the west and south, where there will be maximum temperatures that are still very high until the beginning of the next week, between 35°C and 40°C, according to Météo France.

The Gironde department is at orange surveillance level like 37 other departments in France.

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