Thousands more people have been evacuated from their homes in southwestern France as a wildfire continues to rage in the region, according to local officials.
About 5,000 people were evacuated on Monday from Les Miquelots, a southern neighbourhood of the town of Teste-de-Buch, with another 3,000 told to leave Pyla-sur-Mer, to the east.
Firefighters have been unable to control the blaze near the Dune de Pilat, Europe’s highest sand dune and a summer tourism hot spot, where rapidly changing winds have increased the risk of fire spreading to residential areas that found themselves under clouds of poisonous smoke, they said.
“The smoke is toxic,” firefighter spokesman Arnaud Mendousse told the AFP news agency. “Protecting the population is a matter of public health.”
The blaze is one of two huge wildfires raging since early last week in the Girdonde region south of Bordeaux as parts of France are sweltering under record temperatures.
Since the fires broke out on Tuesday, more than 16,000 people have had to leave their homes.