Reuters, by Layli Foroudi and Sergio Goncalves: Wildfires spread further in southwest France on Saturday, with nearly 10,000 hectares on fire in the Gironde region, up from 7,300 hectares on Friday.
More than 12,200 people had been evacuated from the area by Saturday morning and more than 1,000 firefighters were trying to bring the fires under control, the regional authorities of Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Gironde said in a statement.
“Given the weather conditions and the important risks of fires starting, the authorities have temporarily blocked access to the forested area for professional and leisure activities,” the statement said.
Wildfires have raged through France over the last few weeks, as well as in other European countries like Portugal and Spain, as temperatures have soared.
The fires around the town of Teste-de-Buch in the Gironde have stabilised, having swept through more than 3,000 hectares since the beginning of the crisis.
In the nearby town of Landiras, where 6,500 hectares have been burnt and 2,200 people evacuated, the fires continued to spread overnight, pushed southwest by strong winds.
“We have a fire that will continue to spread as long as it is not stabilised,” said Vincent Ferrier, deputy prefect for Langon in Gironde, during a news conference on Saturday.
“There will soon be a sudden change in God’s dealings. The world in its perversity is being visited by casualties,—by floods, storms, fires, earthquakes, famines, wars, and bloodshed. The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power; yet He will not at all acquit the wicked. ‘The Lord hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet.’ O that men might understand the patience and longsuffering of God! He is putting under restraint His own attributes. His omnipotent power is under the control of Omnipotence. O that men would understand that God refuses to be wearied out with the world’s perversity, and still holds out the hope of forgiveness even to the most undeserving! But His forbearance will not always continue. Who is prepared for the sudden change that will take place in God’s dealing with sinful men? Who will be prepared to escape the punishment that will certainly fall upon transgressors?” Final Events, page 356.2.