| 29 November 2023, Wednesday |

Firefighters combat major wildfire in southwestern France

More than 1,000 firefighters were struggling Thursday to contain a major wildfire which has burned a large area of pine forest in southwestern France, in a region that was already ravaged by flames last month.


Local authorities said more than 68 square kilometers (26 square miles) have burned since Tuesday in the Gironde region and neighboring Landes as France, like other European countries, swelters through a hot and dry summer.


Temperatures were expected to reach 40 C (104 F) on Thursday in the region.


The blaze forced the evacuation of about 10,000 people and destroyed at least 16 houses.


Photos released by firefighters showed flames raging through pine forests overnight, sending clouds of smoke into the air and illuminating the sky with intense orange light.


Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne and Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin were due to visit the evacuated small town of Hostens Thursday to meet with firefighters, rescuers, local officials and volunteers.


Darmanin said that nine aircraft and two helicopters have been mobilized to fight the blaze.


The Gironde region was hit last month by major wildfires that forced the evacuation of more than 39,000 people, including residents and tourists.


France is this week in the midst of its fourth heat wave of the year as the country faces what the government warned is its worst drought on record.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat