Heatwaves, wildfires, worsen weather conditions in France


PARIS 

Friday has been among the hottest days in France with temperatures in the southwestern regions nearing 40C (104F), according to the weather service Meteo-France.

During the daytime, temperatures in Toulouse and Bordeaux reached between 38C and 39C. In the capital Paris, Brest, Lyon, Limoges, and Nantes, temperatures hovered around 35C and 37C.

This is the fourth heatwave that has gripped France since June.

Around 19 departments are placed on heatwave orange vigilance, and people are asked to maintain vigilance while stepping out as the heatwave constitutes a health risk for the exposed.

The warmer weather will continue on Saturday as well. Rain showers are forecasted on Sunday and are expected to bring some respite from the heatwave.

The outbreak of several fires in southwestern, northern, and eastern France has worsened the heatwave. Likewise, the hot weather and strong winds have made it harder for firefighting teams to control the flames.

In Gironde, the fire burning since Tuesday, has burned over 7,400 hectares of forests. There was “no significant progression” of flames during the night, but the “climatic conditions, rising temperatures, and falling hydrometry, raise fears of a day with a very severe risk of fire outbreak,” the prefecture of Gironde said in its latest update.

Nearly 1,100 firefighters and reinforcements from Germany, Romania, Greece, Poland, Austria, and Italy are on the ground trying to douse the fire.

A new fire which started on Friday in the forests of Broceliande in Brittany has destroyed 330 hectares. Also renowned as Le Foret de Paimpont, the forests are mentioned in the legend of King Arthur’s stories.

The fire broke out after midnight in the town of Campeneac. About 150 people were “preventively evacuated” from the town. More than 300 firefighters accompanied by two water planes from Sweden are engaged to control the flames.



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