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Hundreds in southwestern France evacuated from homes due to wildfires

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Hundreds of people were evacuated from their homes as wildfires continued to spiral out of control in southwestern France, authorities said Friday.

More than 1,000 firefighters, supported by nine water bombers, have been battling since Tuesday to control two fires fueled by scorching heat, tinderbox conditions and high winds.

“The situation is still unfavourable,” said the authority of the Gironde department, where the fires are raging.

The fires have now burned 7,300 hectares, a total that has increased by 2,000 hectares overnight, authorities said.

Another wildfire that broke out on Thursday near the southeastern city of Tarascon, destroying at least 1,000 acres, has stabilized, according to firefighters.

Wildfires have also raged in Portugal, Spain and Croatia, setting houses on fire and threatening livelihoods as much of Europe has been baked into a heat wave that has pushed temperatures to the mid-40s in some parts.

One of the two Gironde fires was around the town of Landiras south of Bordeaux, where 4,200 hectares have burned down, roads have been closed and a further 480 residents have been evacuated, bringing the total there to nearly 1,000.

The other fire, which has already burned 3,100 hectares, took place along the Atlantic coast near the “Dune du Pilat” – the highest sand dune in Europe – in the area of ​​​​the Arcachon Bay, above which heavy dark clouds of smoke rose in the sky.

On Wednesday, some 6,000 people were evacuated from surrounding campgrounds and an additional 4,000 people were asked to do so on Thursday.

Three houses and two restaurants were destroyed overnight in that area, authorities said.

(REUTERS)

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