Motorway linking France, Spain closed due to raging fires in Gironde area
Paris, Aug 11 (EFE).- Raging wildfires in France’s southwestern wine-growing region on Thursday prompted authorities to close sections of the A63 highway that straddles the border with northern Spain.
The A63 motorway was closed “on the whole section from Saint Geours de Maremne (exit 9) to Salles (junction 21)” in the direction of Bordeaux, according to the Atlandes motorway operator.
The motorway has also been closed between “A660 and Liposthey (exit 17)” also in the Bordeaux direction.
Vehicles are being diverted to the A64 motorway to circumvent the affected area.
Some 1,100 firefighters have been deployed and are working to stop the flames, which have abated somewhat compared to Wednesday, according to the local fire department.
Reinforcements are expected to arrive in the next few hours, but the weather conditions continue to pose challenges, a statement from the Gironde prefecture warned.
“The conditions are particularly difficult. The vegetation and the soil are particularly dry after more than a month without rain,” the local government statement read.
“Scorching temperatures (40°C today) are expected to continue until Saturday and, combined with very dry air, create very severe fire risk conditions,” authorities warned.
Some 10,000 people have been evacuated as a precaution and Fabienne Buccio, prefect of the Gironde area, has urged local residents not to visit the fire sites so as not to interfere with the activities of emergency services.
The fire first broke out on Tuesday in the village of Saint-Magne and has so far scorched some 6,800 hectares of land.
The area was already razed by a major fire two weeks ago that destroyed some 12,000 hectares of forest.
Prime minister Elisabeth Borne is expected to visit the Gironde area Thursday afternoon with interior minister Gérald Darmanin. EFE