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Forest fires rage in southwest France for fifth day

Forest fires rage in southwest France for fifth day

Firefighters in France's southwestern Gironde region were fighting to control two forest blazes that have devoured more than 10,000 hectares since Tuesday.

Firefighters in France are battling forest blazes that have ravaged thousands of hectares of land since the start of the week. In the coastal town of Arcachon in France's southwestern Gironde region, firefighters were fighting to control two forest blazes that have devoured more than 10,000 hectares.

"It's a Herculean job," said Lieutenant-Colonel Olivier Chavatte from the fire and rescue service, which has 1,200 firefighters and five planes in action. Further evacuation orders were given on Saturday for a few hundred residents, firefighter spokesman Arnaud Mendousse told AFP.

"Several fires are still active in France," interior minister Gerald Darmanin said in a tweet. "Our firefighters are fighting the flames with remarkable courage," he added.


'Extreme vigilance'


Since Tuesday, more than 14,000 people -- residents and tourists combined -- have been forced to decamp with seven emergency shelters set up in order to receive evacuees. Meteo France forecast temperatures of up to 41 degrees Celsius (105 degrees Fahrenheit) in parts of southern France on Sunday, as well as up to 35 in the northwest, with new heat records expected on Monday.

France late on Saturday placed 22 more departments, mainly down its Atlantic seaboard, on high orange alert, taking the current total to 38.

Authorities in the French Alps urged climbers bound for Mont Blanc, Europe's highest mountain, to postpone their trip due to repeated rock falls caused by "exceptional climatic conditions" and "drought".The call comes after a section of Italy's biggest Alpine glacier gave way at the start of the month, killing 11 people in a disaster officials blamed on climate change.

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