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Wildfires rage in southwestern France amid new heatwave

A firefighter sprays water at a burnt forest in Hostens, southwest France, July 21, 2022. (BOB EDME / AP)

PARIS – Wildfires raged in southwestern France on Tuesday, destroying sixteen houses, burning 6,000 hectares and forcing the evacuation of almost 6,000 people in an area already hit last month by huge blazes.

France, like the rest of Europe, is coping with heatwaves and drought that have triggered multiple wildfires across the continent over the past two months.

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"The fire is rampant and has now spread to the Landes department," local authorities of the wine-growing Gironde department said in a statement, adding that 500 firefighters were mobilised

The Gironde in southwestern France was hit in July by two wildfires which destroyed more than 20,000 hectares of forest and led to the evacuation of almost 40,000 people.

READ MORE: How climate change drives heatwaves and wildfires

Fires were also raging on Tuesday in other parts of the country, one in the southern departments of Lozere and Aveyron, where close to 600 hectares have already burnt and where Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin is due to go later in the day.