Thousands of firefighters are battling deadly blazes that have been ravaged by a heat wave across the continent this week.
For five days, fierce fires have raged through pine forests in the French region of Bordeaux, while Portugal’s wildfires have killed one person.
A firefighter pilot died on Friday in a crash during an operation in northeastern Portugal.
More than 160 people have been injured in the fires, and hundreds have been displaced this week.
“What a night,” Gemma Suarez, a Spanish farmer displaced from Casas de Miravet, wept as she recounted her ordeal. We didn’t sleep all night.
“A social worker came to see me to pick up my elderly uncle. We spent the night at Navalmoral, but did not sleep at all. I have never seen such a big fire.
Fire season has hit parts of Europe earlier than usual this year after an unusually dry and warm spring that officials attribute to climate change.
About 3,000 firefighters, supported by water jets, are battling the blaze in southern France, while Greece has sent firefighting equipment.
More than 11,000 people have been displaced from villages and camps.
Firefighters have brought one of the worst fires under control overnight near the Atlantic beach resort of Arcachon, popular with tourists from Europe, the region’s emergency services announced Saturday.
But he added that “strong meteorological conditions” had hampered efforts to contain the biggest fire in the region’s Landras town, south of the Bordeaux vineyard valley.
“They are focusing their efforts on using firefighting equipment to surround the villages in danger and save as many houses as possible,” Charles Lafourcade, who is overseeing the firefighting process, told reporters at the scene.
The two fires have burned at least 23,800 hectares in recent days.
A similar scene is playing out in Portugal, where more than 3,000 firefighters are battling with ordinary citizens to save their homes from several wildfires caused by extreme heat and drought.
The country’s civil protection agency said on Friday that 10 fires were still burning.
Portuguese state television RTP reported on Friday that the area burned this year exceeded the total for 2021. More than 74,000 acres have burned, most of it in the past week.
In southern Andalusia, Spain, 3,000 people have been evacuated from villages threatened by fires near the village of Mijas in Malaga province. About 200 firefighters, supported by 18 aircraft, tried to control the blaze. Authorities were investigating the cause.
For a sixth day, firefighters were still trying to control a blaze sparked by lightning in the west-central Las Hurdes area. About 400 people from eight villages were evacuated on Friday as the flames approached their homes and threatened to spread to the nearby Monfrague National Park.
Croatia and Hungary also battled wildfires this week, as did California and Morocco. Many European countries are experiencing exceptionally hot weather this month, which is said to be due to climate change.
Portuguese authorities said on Wednesday the national high of 47C was recorded in the northern province of Pinhão for July.
EU officials warned last week that climate change was contributing to the continent’s driest and hottest summer on record and urged local authorities to brace themselves and residents for wildfires.