France is battling a massive fire in its drought-stricken southwestern region of Gironde for the third day in a row. On August 11, officials are warning that new flare-ups could cause it to spread further.
The fire, dubbed the Landiras fire, ignited in July, destroying 14 000 ha (34 600 acres) of land before it was contained, but it continued to smolder until it reignited on August 8.1
In two days to August 11, an additional 6 000 ha (15 000 acres) of pine forest burned and 17 homes were destroyed near the village of Belin-Beliet.
Gironde prefecture is warning the fire is now spreading toward the A63 motorway, a major artery linking Bordeaux to Spain.1
“We battled all night to stop the fire from spreading, notably to defend the village of Belin-Beliet,” Lieutenant Colonel Arnaud Mendousse of the Gironde fire and rescue service told journalists.2
Since Tuesday, August 9, nearly 10 000 people evacuated, but no further orders to leave the area are expected for the time being, Mendousse said.
Eight major wildfires are currently raging across the country.
According to the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS), the fire risk is expected to be from very high to extreme on August 11 and 12 over most of France, particularly in southern and western areas.
1 Heat, drought rekindle huge wildfire in southwest France – AFP – August 10, 2022
2 Five more EU nations to help France combat wildfire – France24 – August 11, 2022
Featured image credit: Sapeurs-Pompiers 33
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