Thousands of tourists have been evacuated after wildfires in southwestern France burnt approximately 1,500 hectares of land.
Airborne firefighters and hundreds of emergency crew battled on Wednesday to bring the blaze under control as the country faces its second heatwave in two months.
“Four aircraft and a lot of firefighters are mobilised with help coming from neighbouring departments,” the local authority for the Gironde department said, which has been affected by the fires.
Thousands of tourists have been evacuated after wildfires in southwestern France burnt around 1,500 hectares of land
(AFP via Getty Images)
The biggest of the two Gironde fires is located around the town of Landiras, south of Bordeaux, where roads have been closed and hundreds of people evacuated, with the blaze having already burnt more than 1,000 hectares.
The other one is along the Atlantic Coast, close to the iconic “Dune du Pilat” – the tallest sand dune in Europe – located in the Arcachon Bay area, where 6,000 people from surrounding campsites have been evacuated.
France has already suffered wildfires this year, with almost 200 hectares of vegetation destroyed in Occitanie as recently as June. One of the fires ripped through 60 bungalows at Europe’s largest campsite.
The biggest of the two Gironde fires is located around the town of Landiras, south of Bordeaux
(AFP via Getty Images)
It comes as temperatures across Europe have been sweltering, propelling an increase in wildfires.
Portugal recorded 125 fires on Saturday, the highest number in a single day this year.
The country is enduring a heatwave that is due to worsen, with parts of Portgual predicted to experience temperatures as high as 43C.
Meanwhile, Spain has also been battling temperatures in the early 40s in a heatwave that has also struck the usually cooler northern parts of Spain.
In Italy, which is also facing extreme heats and drought conditions, farmers on the island of Sardinia have seen swarms of billions of locusts ravage their land in the worst such invasion for more than three decades.
The invasion is projected to affect an area of around 60,000 hectares this year, double that of last year.
Some farmers fear they may go out of business as the plague of locusts adds to the impact of drought and rising fuel costs on farmers.
The problem is not new in Sardinia. Depopulation and uncultivated lands were some of the main reasons for the huge number of locusts, but rising temperatures and lack of rain also play a big role as dry and compacted soil makes it easier for locusts to lay their eggs.
Last week, it was announced that the River Po, Italy’s longest, was suffering its worst drought for 70 years, which threatened around a third of Italy’s agricultural production.
The Po is Italy’s longest river, and runs for more than 400 miles through the wealthy north of the country.