France Battles 'Monster' Wildfire As Heatwaves Scorch Europe
PARIS, France - A 'monster' wildfire raged for a third day in southwestern France on Thursday, ravaging forecast and forcing 10,000 people to evacuate their homes.
With no let - up in scorching temperatures likely before the weekend, firefighters backed by water - bombing aircraft battled on many fronts, saying the massive fire could change direction at any moment.
'It's an ogre, it's a monster', Gregory Allione from the French firefighters body FNSPF told RTL radio.
Wildfires have broken out across Europe this summer as succesive heatwaves baked the continent and renew focus on climate change risks to industry and livelihoods.
Support was on its way from across Europe, with 361 firefighters, as well as trucks and waterbombing aircrafts, expected to back up the 1,100 French firefighters already on the ground.
'We are still in the phase of (trying to) confine the fire, direct it where we want it, where there is less vegetation, where our vehicles can best position themselves...so we can eventually fix it, control it and extinguish it', said Matthieu Jomain, a spokesperson for Gironde firefighters.
More than 60,000 hectares (230 square miles) have gone up in flames so far in France this year, six times the full - year average for 2006 - 2021, data from the European Forest Fire Information System shows.