*Update, 15:15, September 14: This article was updated to include further evacuations
A wildfire in the south-west France department of Gironde has now burned through over 3,600 hectares of forest as strong winds overnight exacerbated the spread of flames.
In total, over 1,200 people have been evacuated from their homes since the fires first broke out on Monday afternoon, the majority from the villages of Saumos and Sainte-Hélène, west of Bordeaux.
Around 920 firefighters have been deployed to contain the flames, Franceinfo reported.
Lionel Montillaud, the mayor of the village Sainte-Hélène, from where around 300 people have been evacuated, said that the fire has been continuing to gain ground.
“The night was rather turbulent, but fortunately the wind died down around midnight to 01:00,” he told BFMTV.
He added that the firefighters had done a remarkable job containing the flames.
The mayor of nearby Lacanau, Laurent Peyrondet, told Franceinfo: “The worry is the gusts of wind expected at 11:00.
“What we are observing today is that the forest is like straw; it hasn’t rained in months.”
The fires have already burned three houses in the area but so far there has been no further property damage.
Several roads in the local area are closed due to the blaze. You can see a full list at this link.
The map below shows the approximate area affected by the fires.
Houses burnt as new wildfire rages in Southwestern France #France #Wildfire #Medoc #Gironde #Fire #ForestFire #Heatwave #ClimateCrisis #ClimateChange #Viral #Weather #Climate #Saumos #Incendie pic.twitter.com/as9byTIqcJ— Earth42morrow (@Earth42morrow) September 13, 2022
Fire #Tornado dances above the scorched earth near #Saumos, #Gironde in #France— RJ_Ramesh (@weather_rj) September 13, 2022
Intense heat has been smashing September records, following on from the terribly hot and dry summer. pic.twitter.com/GSek997vy9
#Incendie #Saumos |⛔️Fermeture à la circulation pendant la durée de l'intervention contre les #feuxdeforêt :— Préfète de la Nouvelle-Aquitaine et de la Gironde (@PrefAquitaine33) September 13, 2022
- D5E3 entre la D6 et Saumos
- D5E4 entre Le Porge et Saumos
- D5 entre Le Temple et Ste Hélène et via Saumos
- Piste cyclable D801 entre Ste Hélène et la piste D807 pic.twitter.com/cnetrCICxx
Gironde has already suffered greatly from wildfires this year, including a huge blaze around Hostens in the south of the department in which over 10,000 hectares of forest was burned in August. The severity of that blaze prompted French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne to visit the area in person.