Gironde wildfire update: 1,200 locals evacuated, 3,600 hectares burned

Strong overnight winds worsened the blaze but the 900 or so firefighters on hand have been able to keep property damage to a minimum

A wildfire in the Gironde department continues to spread. Picture on the right is representative and does not show the actual forest fire

*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.

Read more: MAP: How to see where wildfires are in France in real time

Pic: Screenshot / Google Maps

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.

Read more: Gironde fire update: 10,000 people evacuated, blaze still spreading

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