PARIS (Reuters) – A wildfire raging since Monday in southwestern France prompted authorities to evacuate an extra 500 people on Wednesday, bringing the total to over 1,000 in an area already hit this summer by huge blazes.
One thousand firefighters and 11 aircraft are battling the fire that has burned more than 3,600 hectares and destroyed four houses and several buildings in the wine growing Medoc area.
“The weather conditions remain unfavourable, with the persistence of wind, heat and drought (…) the fires remains active (…),” the prefect of the Gironde department said in a statement, adding seven firefighters had been slightly injured.
France, like the rest of Europe, has had to tackle heatwaves and a drought over the summer that have caused multiple wildfires across the continent.
Close to 65,000 hectares (250.97 square miles) have gone up in flames so far in France this year, half of it in southwestern France – six times the full-year average for 2006-2021, according to data from the European Forest Fire Information System.
(Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Dominique Vidalon)