Fires in southwest France burn over 10,000 hectares of forests

More than 12,000 people evacuated as fires keep spreading, efforts ongoing to contain blaze.

Fires in southwest France burn over 10,000 hectares of forests

The fires in southwestern France continued on Saturday to rage for a fifth day, destroying more than 10,000 hectares (24,700 acres) of forestland and displacing thousands of people as efforts to contain the blaze have failed, local authorities said on Saturday.

The fires burning in the Gironde and in Bouches-du-Rhone departments since Tuesday have progressed amid an ongoing heatwave gripping the country. More than 1,000 fire department personnel, supported by two aircraft, are still engaged on the ground, according to the latest statement from the Gironde prefecture.

During a trip to Calvados on Friday, Premier Elisabeth Borne confirmed that an electric vehicle caused the fire in La-Teste-de-Buch, located near Arcachon in Gironde. She appealed to people to be responsible as nearly "80% of the forest fires are estimated to have been started by humans," she told BFMTV news.

The two fires combined have burned over 10,000 hectares of forest grounds leading to the evacuation of at least 12,200 people since the start of the crisis.

The flames burned nearly 3,150 hectares of forests in La Teste-de-Buch. They sharply increased in Landiras due to rapid wind movement spreading across 6,000 hectares of pine forests -- 1,500 hectares on Friday alone.

As the fires progressed in Landiras, an additional 2,200 inhabitants of Sud-Gironde were evacuated and firefighters were stationed at sensitive points to protect residential homes, Sud Ouest news reported, quoting the Departmental Fire and Rescue Service (SDIS) of Gironde.

In La Teste de Buch, a total of 10,000 people have been evacuated since Tuesday. A restaurant, three houses, and a few cabins were destroyed, the Sud Ouest reported.