Wildfires ravage France's famous wine region

Firefighters say the fire is growing at an "unprecedented" speed.

August 10, 2022, 3:43 PM

A wildfire is raging at an "unprecedented" rate in the famed wine region south of Bordeaux, France, firefighters said Wednesday.

The prefecture of Gironde in southwest France ordered an estimated 10,000 residents to evacuate.

"Prepare your papers, the animals you can take with you, some belongings," the Gironde municipality of Belin-Beliet posted on their Facebook before evacuations.

No casualties have been reported as of Wednesday afternoon. Sixteen homes have been destroyed, according to the prefecture of Gironde.

The wildfire began around 1 p.m. on Tuesday in Saint-Magne and Hostens before growing rapidly due to "unfavorable weather conditions," the prefecture said.

Firefighters stand guard to monitor fire outbreaks and restarts near Saint-Magne, southwestern France, on Aug. 10, 2022.
Philippe Lopez/AFP via Getty Images
A firefighting aircraft sprays fire retardant over trees during a wildfire near Belin-Beliet in Gironde, southwestern France, on Aug. 10, 2022.
Philippe Lopez/AFP via Getty Images

Nearly 14,826 acres were engulfed by the flames around Hostens and Belin-Béliet on Tuesday night.

Over 1,000 firefighters, nine planes and two helicopters have been mobilized to address the fire, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said in a statement Wednesday.

The community of Landiras, the epicenter of the current wildfire, lost over 34,000 acres of forest in July.

According to officials, firefighters are facing at least three other fires in the south of France on Wednesday.

Flames consume trees at a forest fire in Saint Magne, south of Bordeaux, France, Aug. 10, 2022, in a photo provided by the fire brigade of the Gironde region SDIS 33, (Departmental fire and rescue service 33.)
SDIS 33 Service Audiovisuel via AP

French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne tweeted that she will be visiting the region on Thursday.

"The mobilization of the Government and State services, alongside local elected officials, volunteers and residents, is absolute," Borne tweeted.

In southern France, temperatures are forecast to reach up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit through the end of the week, according to Meteo France, the country's meteorological service.

Currently, 63% of the European Union and U.K. are under either drought warnings or alerts on Wednesday, according to the EU's European Drought Observatory.

Over 140,000 acres of French land has burned so far this year, nearly six times more than the average for the country from 2006 to 2021, according to the European Forest Fire System.

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