Sunday, 2 October, 2022
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Firefighters battle blazes in southeast France

French firefighters tackled wildfires raging in the country's southeast Saturday as officials kept a wary eye on a huge blaze that appeared to be contained further west.

France has been buffeted this summer by a historic drought that has forced water use restrictions nationwide, as well as a series of heatwaves that experts say are being driven by climate change.

On Saturday, a reignited "virulent" fire in the Aveyron department near Toulouse forced the evacuation of more than 130 people, officials said, while another blaze in the department of Drome, south of Lyon, progressed.

The Aveyron and Drome fires have destroyed more than 1,200 hectares (3,100 acres).

A fire in the legendary Broceliande forest in the northwestern region of Brittany, where King Arthur roamed, devastated nearly 400 hectares but officials said on Saturday the fire was no longer progressing.

A 40-kilometre (25-mile) fire front in the Gironde and Landes departments around Bordeaux also "did not significantly progress overnight.

The blaze near Bordeaux erupted in July -- the driest month seen in France since 1961 -- destroying 14,000 hectares and forcing thousands of people to evacuate before it was contained.

Fires in France in 2022 have ravaged an area three times the annual average over the past 10 years, with blazes also active in the Alpine Jura, Isere and Ardeche regions this week.