French people

More people evacuated as wildfires in southwestern France rage

The two forest fires that started in Gironde in southwestern France on Tuesday afternoon (July 12) have now burned nearly 4,000 hectares of wood.

A further 60 people were evacuated from the area overnight in addition to the 6,500 residents and campers who were evacuated early yesterday.

One of the fires, covering 2,100 hectares around Landiras, south of Bordeaux, would be stabilized this morning (July 14) – but not yet under control, according to the Gironde prefecture.

However, the wind is expected to strengthen this afternoon, creating favorable conditions for the spread of flames.

“The objective this morning is to continue to contain the progression of the fire,” Vincent Ferrier, sub-prefect of Langon, who covers the area affected by the fire, told France Bleu. “The concern is that the flames will pick up again this afternoon, with temperatures forecast at 40°C.”

The other fire has already burned 1,750 hectares in La Teste-de-Buch near the popular tourist attraction of the Dune du Pilat, the largest sand dune in Europe, and today “the situation is still uncertain due to difficulties of access. [the fire].”

Around 500 people were evacuated from the hamlets near the Landiras fire on Tuesday evening, and more than 6,000 from campsites near La Teste-de-Buch.

Read more: Thousands evacuated as wildfires rage in southwestern France

Last night, around sixty additional people were evacuated from the village of Cazaux, close to the La Teste-de-Buch fire, as a precaution.

The spread of the flames slowed down in this area this morning, and the sub-prefect declared: “The flames do not threaten any house”.

1,000 firefighters mobilized

There are currently around 1,000 firefighters – from Gironde and neighboring departments – who are fighting the flames, and six Canadair and Dash planes carrying out water drops since 8:30 a.m. this morning.

Three Canadair, Dash and Beech planes which were to fly over the Champs-Élysées during the National Day parade today have been redeployed to Gironde.

Read more: French military parade on July 14: theme and program to follow on television

The president of the National Federation of Firefighters of France called on the prefectures to cancel their National Holiday fireworks to avoid possible forest fires, and several local authorities have already done so.

Read more: French municipalities cancel July 14 fireworks due to forest fire risk

The fires are likely to continue burning for a few more days as they spread through very dry pine forests whose trees ignite through their trunks, soon falling to the ground and allowing the flames to leap.

The La Teste-de-Buch fire reportedly broke out after a truck traveling on Route 214 suffered an “accident or breakdown” which caused the vehicle to “fire”, said the local prefect. The cause of the Landiras fire is not yet known.

As fire and rescue crews work to battle the two blazes, several roads are closed. These are the RD 115 and 125 between Guillos and Landiras, as well as the 220 between Cabanac and Giillos and the 218 between the Dune du Pilar and Biscarrosse.

Many of those evacuated from their campsites have decided to return home, and only 1,500 remain in the fairgrounds proposed as a shelter.

The Gironde remains under orange weather alert for high temperatures and forest fires today. Six other departments – Lot-et-Garonne, Tarn-et-Garonne, Haute-Garonne, Tarn, Ardèche and Drôme – are also under orange heat wave warnings, and 27 others are on yellow alert.

Read more: French heat wave: what temperatures to expect for this weekend?

You can find out more about the heat wave situation on the Météo France website.

If you encounter difficulties due to the heat, you can call the Heatwave info service free of charge on 0800 06 66 66 from any French landline between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. In case of emergency, call 15.

A visit from the Minister of the Interior

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin traveled to Gironde yesterday afternoon (July 13) to support those affected.

“We have already had 15,000 hectares burned since the beginning of the year, while there were less than 1,000 hectares at the same time last year,” he told a conference. hurry.

The “fire season started very early [this year]surely because of climate change and the drought” which affects a large part of the country.

Read more: Update of the drought map: 19 French departments on crisis alert

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