Authorities reported on Friday that hundreds more people have been forced from their homes as flames in southwestern France raged unabatedly.
Since Tuesday, more than 1,000 firefighters have been working to contain two fires that have been stoked by sweltering heat, tinder-box conditions, and strong winds with the assistance of nine water-bomber aircraft.
The authority for the Gironde department, where the fires are raging, declared that “the situation is continuing unfavourable.”
According to authorities, the fires have already consumed 7,300 hectares (or approximately 18,000 acres), and their size has grown by 2,000 hectares (or about 5,000 acres) since last night.
Firefighters say a second wildfire that started on Thursday and consumed at least 1,000 hectares (almost 2,500 acres) near the town of Tarascon in the southeast has been contained.
As most of Europe broiled in a heatwave that has caused temperatures to reach as high as the mid-40 degrees Celsius in some areas, wildfires also burned over Portugal, Spain, and Croatia, destroying houses and endangering lives.
One of the two Gironde fires was in the vicinity of Landiras, a town south of Bordeaux, where 4,200 hectares (almost 10,400 acres) have burnt, roads have been closed, and 480 more people have evacuated, bringing the total number of people who have left the area to almost 1,000.
The other fire, which has so far consumed 3,100 hectares (nearly 7,700 acres), was in the Arcachon bay area, along the Atlantic coast, not far from the “Dune du Pilat,” which is the tallest sand dune in Europe. Above this fire, dense clouds of dark smoke could be seen rising into the sky.
On Wednesday, about 6,000 people were evacuated from nearby campgrounds, and 4,000 more on Thursday morning.
Authorities reported that three homes and two eateries in the region were damaged overnight.