Fires in southwest France stabilize after destroying 20,800 hectares of forests


After destroying over 20,800 hectares (51,400 acres) of forests in 10 days, two fires in Gironde in southwestern France have largely stabilized, authorities said on Friday.

The prefecture of Gironde announced that 1,800 firefighters accompanied by seven water bomber helicopters are still at work, managing the hotspots.

It said there has been no change in the areas burned in La Teste-de-Buch and Landiras, adding that the fires are not fully contained but are also not progressing further.

Since July 12, the two fires have burned nearly 20,800 hectares of forest: 7,000 hectares (17,300 acres) in Teste-de-Buch and 13,800 hectares (34,100 acres) in Landiras.

Of the 36,750 people evacuated as a precautionary measure, nearly 6,000 have returned to their homes.

The massive fires in two separate areas in Gironde have caused exceptional damage to the forestland in the region.

The tragedy was summed up in a widely circulated image of a washed-up dead body of a wild deer found on Biscarrosse beach on July 19, barely 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) from Teste-de-Buch.

News reports said the deer might have headed towards the beach to rescue itself from a thick blanket of smoke and fire.

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