Thousands evacuated as fires ravage 7,300 hectares of forest near Bordeaux

Thousands evacuated as fires ravage 7,300 hectares of forest near Bordeaux

Wildfires continue in the Gironde region near the southwestern French city of Bordeaux, destroying some 7,300 hectares of forest in four days, with firefighters still unable to stop the blazes.

Firemen fighting the two forest blazes which have been raging in the Gironde region since Tuesday say the situation remains extremely difficult.

One thousand men and nine water-bombing aircraft are involved in the struggle to contain the twin fires.

In the forest known as Teste-de-Buch, near Arcachon, several dwelling and restaurants have been destroyed. In the Landiras region, south of the city of Bordeaux, 4,200 hectares of forest have already been lost and 480 people had to be evacuated during the night.

In total, nearly 11,000 people, most of them holiday makers in campsites, have had to flee the two regions of Arcachon and Landiras since the beginning of the crisis earlier this week.

Tourist magnet the Dune de Pilat, Europe’s highest sand dune, was closed to visitors after several thousands were evacuated from local campsites this week.

Widespread wildfires

A fire in Spain which broke out in the eastern region of Extremadura on Monday has so far ravaged at least 4,000 hectares of land, local officials said.

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Between 1 January and 3 July, more than 70,300 hectares of forest have gone up in smoke in Spain, the government says — almost double the average of the past 10 years.

In Portugal, over 2,000 firefighters are battling dozens of wildfires, including four deemed “major”.

One person has been confirmed dead, authorities said Wednesday, after a body was found in a burned area in the northern region of Aveiro.

In Greece, a helicopter helping to fight a forest fire on the island of Samos on Wednesday crashed into the Aegean Sea, killing two of its four crew members, the coastguard said Thursday.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Moroccan firefighters and soldiers battled late Thursday to put out at least four infernos ripping through forests in the north of the kingdom, according to official sources.

Nearly 500 families have been evacuated “as a precaution” in the provinces of Larache and Taza.