France’s Gironde region sees further evacuations in latest forest-fire battle

Firefighters were battling a wildfire in southwestern France on Wednesday in a region known for its pine forests that was ravaged by flames last month.

The blaze forced the evacuation of about 8,000 people and destroyed at least sixteen houses. A major highway near the city of Bordeaux was closed on Wednesday afternoon due to the fire raging nearby.

Authorities in Spain’s northern Basque Country region said France has stopped freight trucks from crossing the border at Irun due to the fire.

Photos released by firefighters showed flames raging through pine forests, sending clouds of dark grey smoke soaring into the sky.

Flames from a wildfire burn trees near Belin-Beliet in Gironde, southwestern France, on Wednesday. (Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images)

More than 60 square kilometres have burned in the Gironde region and the neighbouring Landes in the latest wildfire to erupt in a European nation as the continent swelters through a hot and dry summer.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin announced that more firefighters have been sent to the site in an effort to contain the fire. In total, more than 1,000 firefighters, nine aircraft and two helicopters have been mobilized, he said.

The Gironde region was hit last month by major wildfires that forced the evacuation of more than 39,000 people, including residents and tourists.

France is this week in the midst of its fourth heat wave of the year as the country faces what the government warned is its worst drought on record. Temperatures in the south of the country are expected to reach up to 40 C.

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