Thousands evacuated as wildfires spread in southwestern France Featured

France continues to suffer successive heat waves, like the rest of Europe, with the latest wildfire sweeping across the southwest of the country.

A huge wildfire that has destroyed more than a dozen homes and forced the evacuation of thousands of residents, some of whom had clambered onto rooftops as the blaze neared, has swept through the Gironde region of southwestern France.

More than 1,000 firefighters backed by water-bombing aircraft were fighting the fire on Wednesday. 

More than 60 square kilometres have  been razed and the fire is still burning out of control.

France, like the rest of Europe, is struggling with successive heatwaves and its worst drought on record.

Dozens of wildfires are ablaze across the country, including at least four other major ones.

The local Gironde authority described the blaze as "rampant". Firefighters said more evacuations were likely.

Latest inferno

Camille Delay fled her home town of Hostens on the orders of emergency services late on Tuesday with her partner and son as a wall of flames drew rapidly closer.

The couple grabbed their two cats, chickens and house insurance documents before taking flight, she said.

"Everyone in the village climbed onto their rooftops to see what was happening - within ten minutes a little twist of smoke became enormous," the 30-year-old said.

The Gironde was hit by major wildfires in July which destroyed more than 200 square kilometres of forest and temporarily forced almost 40,000 people from their homes.

Authorities believe the latest inferno was a result of the previous fires still smouldering in the area's peaty soil.

Fires were also raging in the southern departments of Lozere and Aveyron. In the Maine et Loire department in western France, more than 12 square kilometres have been scorched by another fire. 


Source: agencies