France: Wildfires near Bordeaux show no sign of slowing
Fears are growing in southwestern France over the continued spread of wildfires, which has so far led to the evacuation of at least 10,000 people.
Firefighters in the Gironde region near Bordeaux said the spread of the forest fire was limited overnight due to little wind but conditions for containing the blaze remained “unfavourable”.
Fueled by drought and high temperatures, almost 7,000 hectares of land and pine forests have so far been destroyed.
France is in the midst of its fourth heatwave this year as the country prepares for what the government warned is its worst drought on record. Temperatures in the Gironde region are expected to reach 40 degrees Celsius on Friday.
Fire officials from across Europe began arriving in France on Friday to help battle several blazes.
More than 360 firefighters and 100 specialised land vehicles were sent from Germany, Romania, Poland and Austria, joining over 1,000 French firefighters already on site.
Greece has also sent two specialised Canadair aircraft, while Sweden has deployed two firefighting Air Tractor planes to help battle separate wildfires in the Brittany region in western France.
European Commission spokesperson, Miriam Garcia Ferrer confirmed that Brussels is pooling its resources from across the continent to help deal with the crisis.
France’s Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne visited the affected areas on Thursday and expressed her gratitude for European aid.
“Today we are fully benefiting from European solidarity,” she told reporters.
“When the President came here in July we had two water-bombing helicopters, we have nine today and we will have eleven at the end of the week, so I can assure you that we have never mobilised so many airborne means to fight fires.”
Borne has herself faced criticism for failing to ensure sufficient resources to tackle wildfires.