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Thousands of homes at risk as apocalyptic fires tear through southwest France

It is described as apocalyptic heat. In southwest France, wildfires that are insatiable threaten thousands of homes and destroy the forest.

We head towards the fire zone and see miles of blackened trees along the way – ash where there once was life.

“Today’s situation is critical,” says Stephanie Martin, Villenave-d’Ornon’s official escort.

The problem is the wind. It’s not clear at this time which direction it will go.”


The wildfires this year are among the worst ever recorded and are not under control.

“How long do think you’ll stay here?” I ask.

Stephanie replied, “I think at most two weeks,”

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It’s not just the scorching temperatures that are the problem. Many of these fires are deep in the forest where hundreds of firefighters attempt to control them.

A plane flying overhead drops a liquid fire retardant on the ground below.

Officials say that we shouldn’t be there.

Image The lady claims she won’t go anywhere

It’s now time to go, as the wind has changed and the fire could move in our direction at any minute.

Although evacuations have left streets and homes uninhabitable by the flames, not all are paying attention.

French Civil Protection receives a call from local officials about a pensioner who refuses to leave her pets.

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She is immediately found by teams who send them to her to inform her that the fire is coming.

She doesn’t seem to be moving when we get there.

“Non! The 86-year old repeatedly says, “Non!” to officials who are trying to convince her to go with them.

She can bring her pets dogs, they say.

She says she has lived here her whole life and doesn’t plan to move.

She says she’ll die here.

The police and the mayor arrive, but she doesn’t change her mind.

They can only take her information and tell her to use wet towels to block any smoke-scented doors.

According to them, firefighters will need to arrive and rescue her in case of a fire at the village.

Marion Levasseur from French Civil Protection says, “It’s very dangerous because you have to ask other people to help during the firefighting.”

Others have also listened to the concerns.

We meet some of the thousands who have fled their homes and are staying in a shelter nearby.

They took what they could and packed their pets up before driving off.

They don’t know when they will be able return.

The battle for southwest France is not over.


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