thousands of people evacuated, more than 10,000 hectares destroyed

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In Gironde, in the south-west of France, firefighters were still fighting on Saturday against the forest fires triggered by the heat wave. On Tuesday, the flames have since ravaged more than 10,000 hectares and forced the evacuation of 12,200 residents and holidaymakers throughout the department, according to firefighters.

The firefighters were still strongly mobilized, Saturday July 16, to fix the fires in the south of France, and particularly in Gironde. New evacuations are underway in the department, in the face of the advance of the flames which ravaged more than 10,000 hectares of forests, in a context of generalized heat wave all weekend.

In the municipalities of Landiras and Guillos, in the south-east of the department, the situation is still “very unfavorable”, with now “more than 7,000 hectares” gone up in smoke, the prefecture said on Twitter.

Due to the winds which push the fires towards the southwest, order was given at the beginning of the afternoon to proceed with the evacuation of the “bourg du Tuzan, the hamlet of Villagrain in the commune of Cabanac-et-Villagrain and, in the town of Hostens, the town and the nautical base”.

“A few hundred people” are concerned, said for his part to AFP Lieutenant-Colonel Arnaud Mendousse, spokesman for the firefighters.

“Titanic work” for firefighters

Since Tuesday, “more than 12,200” residents and vacationers have already had to leave the premises. Five emergency accommodation centers and a medico-psychological emergency cell were opened to support the victims.

On the other front, at Teste-de-Buch, the efforts made have so far slowed the progression of the fire. “Today, we include the head of fire, especially in the south, which prevents it from progressing towards the Landes but (…) we are not immune to a recovery”, a detailed Lieutenant-Colonel Olivier Chavatte of the departmental fire and rescue service (Sdis). “We have almost 30 kilometers of edge so it’s a titanic job”.

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In 24 hours, the Sdis “had to face 22 departures of forest fires in the department of Gironde”, pointed out the prefecture.

Around 4 p.m., the operation secured by the police, allowing the inhabitants of Cazaux to “recover and feed their animals”, had to be interrupted due to “a fire jump on the road”. A large black plume rose again in the blue sky, were noted by AFP journalists on the spot.

1,200 firefighters and five bombers

Other outbreaks of fire have been reported in recent hours on the Lagune and Petit-Nice beaches, south of the Pilat dune, according to the mayor of Teste-de-Buch, Patrick Davet and the firefighters.

The day before, some 450 families had been able to recover their personal effects in the five campsites evacuated from this same sector. A total of 1,200 firefighters are mobilized on Saturday on all fronts.

Five water bomber planes (3 Canadair and a Dash) are currently flying over the areas, according to Sdis. Several voices of elected officials, including that of Jean-Luc Gleyze, PS president of the department and of SDIS 33, were raised to demand the “permanent” presence of these machines “in the largest resinous massif in Europe”.

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Similarly, “a large number of bulldozers” are also used to set up firebreaks (or clear cuts) in order to slow down and block the flames.

On Thursday, “forest fire” vigilance had gone up a notch in Gironde, turning red (scale 4/5), as in the neighboring department of Landes since Friday morning.

These fires, which did not claim any victims, were revealed at the start of the heat wave episode which has affected France since Monday, mainly in the west and the south, where the maximum will remain very high until the start of next week, with values ​​between 35°C and 40°C, according to Météo-France. The Gironde is placed in orange “heat wave” vigilance by Météo-France, like 37 other departments.

With AFP


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