More than 1,000 firefighters struggling to tackle huge forest blaze in France

More than 1,000 firefighters are struggling to contain a huge wildfire that has destroyed a large area of pine forest in southwest France.
Around 6,800 hectares (26 square miles) in the Gironde region and neighbouring Landes have been burnt by the blaze, which began on Tuesday.

At least 16 houses have also been destroyed, and emergency services have forced around 10,000 people to evacuate the area.
Photographs released by firefighters showed flames raging through pine forests, sending clouds of smoke in the air and illuminating the sky with intense orange light.

It comes after the region was ravaged by flames last month and as France tackles its fourth heatwave following its worst drought ever.

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“The conditions are particularly difficult: the vegetation and the soil are particularly dry after more than a month without rain,” local officials said in a statement.

“The scorching temperatures are expected to continue until Saturday and combine with very dry air to create very severe fire risk conditions.”

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On Thursday, temperatures were due to reach 40C (104F) across the region.
Four firefighting planes, based in Sweden and Greece, have been sent to the country by the European Commission to help put out the blaze.
Read more: Swifts nearly baked alive, sparrows stuck to tarmac, and hedgehogs orphaned – the destruction caused by France’s fourth heatwave

Nine other aircraft and two helicopters have also been mobilised.
Commission spokesperson Miriam Garcia Ferrer also said firefighting teams from Germany, Poland, Austria and Romania were on their way to help French crews.

“The EU continues to monitor the situation across Europe and stands ready to help the affected countries,” she added.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne and interior minister Gerald Darmanin are due to visit the evacuated small town of Hostens to meet crews, rescuers, local officials and volunteers.
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Source : Sky News