Thousands in France and Spain evacuated as wildfires continue
ildfires caused by extreme heat have caused authorities to evacuate thousands of people around Europe.
France has evacuated 16,000 people in the south-western Gironde region – a popular tourist destination – with flames having taken hold in Teste-de-Buch and Landiras areas.
“Given the weather conditions and the important risks of fires starting, the authorities have temporarily blocked access to the forested area for professional and leisure activities,” a statement on Saturday read.
Vincent Ferrier, deputy prefect for Langon in Gironde, added: “We have a fire that will continue to spread as long as it is not stabilised.”
The heat has already led to Tour de France organisers spraying roads to prevent them from melting ahead of the peloton as the race enters its final week.
Fires in southern Spain’s hilly Mijas region have seen authorities evacuate 3,200 people, although some have now been allowed to return.
Firefighters were struggling to keep at bay a blaze that broke out near the city of Cáceres – threatening the Monfragüe National Park.
Another fire, near the southern Spanish city Malaga has forced the evacuation of a further 2,500 people.
Malaga resident Ellen McCurdy told Reuters: “We just grabbed a few essentials and just ran really, and by that stage everybody along the street was on the move… there were a lot of ambulances and fire engines.”
Pedro Muñoz, head of forest policy for the regional government, said one fire that broke out on Saturday night in the Valle del Jerte area had been “deliberate”.
Portugal’s fires are contained for now.
Turkey, Greece and Croatia have also seen firefighters battling wildfires.