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Southwestern France still up in flames

Firefighters have been called in from a number of countries in Europe as French officials struggle to control fires in the country’s southwest.

August 11, 2022
11 August 2022

High temperatures and a worsening drought have brought a high risk of new fires breaking out in southwestern France, even after an overnight reprieve held a monster wildfire that has been raging for days in check.

Firefighters from Germany, Romania and Greece were on the ground to help France battle the fire in the Gironde region as well as on other fronts, including in Brittany in the northwest, and more from across Europe were on their way.

The risk of new fires was “very severe” considering the weather conditions, the Gironde prefecture said on Friday.

Firefighters tackle a blaze near Hostens, south of Bordeaux (SDIS 33 via AP)

“The day is likely to be complicated since temperatures continue to increase and humidity continues to drop, so obviously we remain vigilant and mobilised,” senior local official Ronan Leaustic told a news conference.

Temperatures as high as 40C were expected in the southwest, with high temperatures also expected across much of France, France’s official weather forecast Meteo France said.

The heatwave – officially France’s third this summer – was set to ease on Saturday and end on Sunday with storms, it said.

Some 7400 hectares of forests have gone up in flames in Gironde, and 10,000 people have been forced to leave their homes.

Wildfires have broken out across Europe this summer as successive heatwaves bake the continent and renew the focus on climate change risks to industry and livelihoods.

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