Rain brings relief to France fires, but more evacuated in south

Meanwhile in the southwestern Gironde region around Bordeaux, a huge fire that had flared on Tuesday was under control after rain fell overnight, a senior official said.

“The night was favourable to us, since as you know, we had rain and very little wind … The fire is now contained,” Ronan Leaustic, deputy prefect of Arcachon commune, told reporters on Sunday.

He added that 8,000 residents forced to evacuate could now return home.

There was further relief after a fire in the eastern department of Jura that destroyed over 1,000 hecatres was brought under control.

LOWER TEMPERATURES, RAIN FORECAST

Arnaud Mendousse, of Gironde fire and rescue, said earlier there had been between 10 and 30mm of rain in the region but on “terrain that is extremely dry”.

“We know that this offers a respite but does not signify an end to the fight. We know that if it does not rain in the next 48 to 72 hours the risk will increase considerably.”

He said the humidity level has gone up and the temperature was relatively low at around 25 degrees Celsius, but warned: “The fire is not completely out and the soil remains extremely hot.”

Meteo France was forecasting lower temperatures and rain and thunderstorms for most of the country on Sunday.

In the northwest, in the legendary Broceliande forest in region of Brittany – where King Arthur roamed and where wildfires are normally rare – a fire was contained after rain fell overnight, but remained under watch after devastating 400 hectares, officials said.

EU members including Germany, Poland, Austria and Romania have sent reinforcement to France to help battle blazes and several water-bombing planes from the European Union fleet have also joined firefighting efforts.