Wildfire rages in Bordeaux; fire pilot killed in Portugal
Strong winds and hot, dry weather frustrated French firefighters' efforts Saturday to contain a huge wildfire that raced across pine forests in the Bordeaux region for a fifth straight day, one of several wildfires scorching Europe this week.
Among the worst fires have been in Portugal, where the pilot of a firefighting plane died Friday when his plane crashed while on an operation in the northeast. It was the first fire fatality in Portugal this year but the blazes have injured more than 160 people this week and forced hundreds to be evacuated.
Fire season has hit parts of Europe earlier than usual this year after an unusually dry, hot spring that left the soil parched and which authorities attribute to climate change.
As the worst French fire moved closer to inhabited towns, some of the 11,000 people who evacuated in the region described fear and uncertainty about what they'd find when they get back home. Images shared by firefighters showed flames shooting across a mass of pine trees and black smoke stretching across the horizon.
Firefighters focused efforts Saturday on using fire trucks to surround villages at risk and save as many homes as possible, Charles Lafourcade, overseeing the French firefighting operation, told reporters.
Some 3,000 firefighters backed by water-dumping planes are battling the blazes in southern France, the president said, and Greece sent firefighting equipment to help.
French firefighters managed to contain one of the worst fires overnight, near the Atlantic coast resort of Arcachon that is popular with tourists, the regional emergency service said Saturday. But it said "tough meteorological conditions" thwarted efforts to contain the biggest fire in the region, which started in the town of...