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September 30, 2022
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Thousands evacuated as wildfire spreads in southwestern France

At least 6,500 people are evacuated as the wildfire spreads after burning more than 1,200 hectares (3,000 acres) of forest area.

Thousands of people have been evacuated to safety in France’s Atlantic coastal parts as forest fires spread after burning more than 1,200 hectares (nearly 3,000 acres) of area.

Five campsites near Teste-de-Buch, south of the city of Bordeaux, were evacuated as a precaution on Wednesday morning. About 6,000 people were moved to other locations, according to the Gironde prefecture authorities.

Near the small southwestern town of Landiras, where wildfires are also raging, five hamlets and a village were evacuated, with 500 people taken to safety.

Forest burns in France
Burning trees located 100 metres from houses are seen in the communes of Landiras and Guillos [Thibaud Moritz/AFP]

The fires have broken out against a background of persistent drought and high temperatures.

On Wednesday, temperatures of up to 37 degrees Celsius (99 degrees Fahrenheit) are expected in the area and a “high heatwave” warning level has been declared.

According to the prefecture, more than 600 firefighters were battling the flames. Emergency forces from other parts of the country were also expected to help.

A smoke cloud is seen in France
A smoke cloud is seen on the communes of Landiras and Guillos [Thibaud Moritz/AFP]

“Four aircraft and a lot of firefighters are mobilised with help coming from neighbouring departments,” said the local authority for the Gironde department, which has been affected by the fires.

The biggest of the two Gironde fires is located around the town of Landiras, south of Bordeaux.

The other one is along the Atlantic coast, close to the iconic Dune du Pilat – the tallest sand dune in Europe – located in the Arcachon Bay area.

Firefighters attempt to control a forest fire in France
Firefighters attempt to control a forest fire spread in the communes of Landiras and Guillos [Thibaud Moritz/AFP]

 

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