PARIS - 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.
(Reporting by Layli Foroudi. Editing by Jane Merriman)