Firefighters combat major wildfire in southwestern France

Firefighters combat major wildfire in southwestern France
This photo provided by the fire brigade of the Gironde region SDIS 33, (Departmental fire and rescue service 33) shows firefighters tackling a blaze near Saint-Magne, south of Bordeaux, southwestern France, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022. Credit: SDIS 33 via AP

More than 1,000 firefighters were struggling Thursday to contain a major wildfire which has burned a large area of pine forest in southwestern France, in a region that was already ravaged by flames last month.

Local authorities said more than 68 square kilometers (26 square miles) have burned since Tuesday in the Gironde and neighboring Landes as France, like other European countries, swelters through a hot and dry summer.

Temperatures were expected to reach 40 C (104 F) on Thursday in the region.

The blaze forced the evacuation of about 10,000 people and destroyed at least 16 houses.

Spanish state television showed dozens of trucks having to turn around and stay in Spain because of a border closure because of the fire raging in France. TVE reported that truckers, many carrying perishable goods, were looking for ways to cross the border because the parking areas in and around the Irun crossing are full.

A near the French city of Bordeaux was also closed.

Photos released by firefighters showed flames raging through overnight, sending clouds of smoke in the air and illuminating the sky with intense orange light.

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne and Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin were due to visit the evacuated small town of Hostens Thursday to meet with firefighters, rescuers, local officials and volunteers.

  • Firefighters combat major wildfire in southwestern France
    A group of young men cool off in the hot weather by diving into the water at Cullercoats Bay in North Tyneside, England, Wednesday Aug. 10, 2022. The Met Office has issued an amber warning for extreme heat covering four days from Thursday to Sunday for parts of England and Wales as a new heatwave looms. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA via AP
  • Firefighters combat major wildfire in southwestern France
    Large areas of grass have turned yellow due to the dry conditions in Holyrood Park, Edinburgh, Scotland Wednesday Aug. 10, 2022. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) have issued a 'very high' risk of wildfires alert across southern and eastern Scotland with long, dry sunny spells expected over the coming days. Credit: Jane Barlow/PA via AP
  • Firefighters combat major wildfire in southwestern France
    A cut-off water basin with dead trees is exposed at Colliford Lake, where water levels have severely dropped exposing the unseen trees and rocks at Cornwall's largest lake and reservoir, covering more than 900 acres of Bodmin Moor, Cornwall, England, Wednesday Aug. 10, 2022. The Met Office has issued an amber warning for extreme heat covering four days from Thursday to Sunday for parts of England and Wales as a new heatwave looms. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA via AP
  • Firefighters combat major wildfire in southwestern France
    This photo provided by the fire brigade of the Gironde region SDIS 33, (Departmental fire and rescue service 33) shows firefighters tackling a blaze near Hostens, south of Bordeaux, southwestern France, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022. Credit: SDIS 33 via AP
  • Firefighters combat major wildfire in southwestern France
    This photo provided by the fire brigade of the Gironde region SDIS 33, (Departmental fire and rescue service 33) shows firefighters tackling a blaze near Saint-Magne, south of Bordeaux, southwestern France, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022. Credit: SDIS 33 via AP
  • Firefighters combat major wildfire in southwestern France
    This photo provided by the fire brigade of the Gironde region SDIS 33, (Departmental fire and rescue service 33) shows firefighters tackling a blaze near Hostens, south of Bordeaux, southwestern France, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022. Credit: SDIS 33 via AP
  • Firefighters combat major wildfire in southwestern France
    This photo provided by the fire brigade of the Gironde region SDIS 33, (Departmental fire and rescue service 33) shows firefighters tackling a blaze near Saint-Magne, south of Bordeaux, southwestern France, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022. Credit: SDIS 33 via AP
  • Firefighters combat major wildfire in southwestern France
    This photo provided by the fire brigade of the Gironde region SDIS 33, (Departmental fire and rescue service 33) shows firefighters tackling a blaze near Hostens, south of Bordeaux, southwestern France, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022. Credit: SDIS 33 via AP
  • Firefighters combat major wildfire in southwestern France
    This photo provided by the fire brigade of the Gironde region SDIS 33, (Departmental fire and rescue service 33) shows a blaze burning near Saint-Magne, south of Bordeaux, southwestern France, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022. Credit: SDIS 33 via AP
  • Firefighters combat major wildfire in southwestern France
    This photo provided by the fire brigade of the Gironde region SDIS 33, (Departmental fire and rescue service 33) shows firefighters observing a blaze near Saint-Magne, south of Bordeaux, southwestern France, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022. Credit: SDIS 33 via AP
  • Firefighters combat major wildfire in southwestern France
    This photo provided by the fire brigade of the Gironde region SDIS 33, (Departmental fire and rescue service 33) shows firefighters tackling a blaze near Saint-Magne, south of Bordeaux, southwestern France, Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022. Credit: SDIS 33 via AP
  • Firefighters combat major wildfire in southwestern France
    Large areas of grass have turned yellow due to the dry conditions in Holyrood Park, Edinburgh, Scotland Wednesday Aug. 10, 2022. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) have issued a 'very high' risk of wildfires alert across southern and eastern Scotland with long, dry sunny spells expected over the coming days. Credit: Jane Barlow/PA via AP
  • Firefighters combat major wildfire in southwestern France
    Groups of people watch the sun go down from a hill in Ealing, west London, Tuesday Aug. 9, 2022, as a summer of hosepipe bans and fire warnings continues, with a heat health alert coming into place across much of the country. Credit: Victoria Jones/PA via AP

Darmanin said that nine aircraft and two helicopters have been mobilized to fight the blaze.

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.

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that several European countries have offered their help to combat French wildfires, listing Germany, Greece, Poland, Romania and Austria.

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