Wildfires rage in southwest France, over 10,000 people evacuated


PARIS, Aug.11 (Xinhua) -- Over 10,000 residents have been forced to evacuate and 6,800 hectares of land have burned in wildfires raging for a third day in France's southwestern department of Gironde. Some 1,100 firefighters, backed by the aerial brigade, continued battling the fire on Thursday.

"The fire brigades of Gironde and Landes, supported by reinforcements, have been intervening since Tuesday afternoon in a fire which started in Saint-Magne and which has, at this time, burnt more than 6,800 hectares of forest," said the prefecture of the department of Gironde in a statement on Thursday morning.

"Significant human and material means have been deployed to control the fire. In total, nearly 1,100 firemen are involved. Additional reinforcements are expected, the prefecture added.

"The conditions are particularly difficult: the vegetation and the soil are particularly dry after more than a month without rain. The scorching temperatures (40 degrees celsius today) are expected to continue until Saturday and are combined with very dry air to create conditions of very severe risk of fire outbreak."

Meanwhile, French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne and Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin visited the city of Hostens in Gironde to show their support for firefighters.

"The resumption of fires in Gironde is a shock. In Hostens, I came to express my full support for the fire brigade and all the forces mobilized," said Borne on Twitter.

In July, Gironde was hit by two wildfires that destroyed more than 20,000 hectares of forest and led to the evacuation of almost 40,000 people.

The latest wildfires spread to the neighboring department of Landes on Tuesday during the night, and several roads including highways remained closed on Thursday.

In the southeastern department of Drome, wildfires that broke out last Friday in the mountains of Diois were still not under control. On Thursday, firefighters in the department called for volunteers and donations on Twitter, explaining that ''the firefighters are exhausted and the logistics team needs support.''

In the northwestern department of Maine-et-Loire, wildfires that have burnt 1,500 hectares of land since Monday were reported as stable by firefighters.

In the eastern department of Jura, the wildfires that broke out on Tuesday are still raging, after having burnt over 330 hectares of land. Over 80 firefighters were mobilized on Thursday to bring the fire under control, local authorities said.

"Across the territory, more than 10,000 firefighters and civil security personnel are mobilized against the flames," tweeted French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday.

"Germany, Greece, Poland, and in the next few hours Romania and Austria: our partners are coming to the aid of France in the face of the fires," he added.

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