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WILDFIRES

MAP: Where are the main wildfires in France right now?

This summer is already the worst on record for wildfires in France, with dozens of blazes breaking out across the country - here's the interactive map showing the latest situation.

MAP: Where are the main wildfires in France right now?
A firefighter battles one of the several wildfires blazing in France. Photo by Philippe LOPEZ / POOL / AFP

According to the European Forest Fire Information System, this is the worst year on record for wildfires in France, with at least 47,000 hectares burned – an area equivalent to five times the size of Paris.

Fires in south west France have broken out again, as of Wednesday August 10th – with thousands more evacuated and 6,000 hectares of forest burned. At least 16 homes have so far been destroyed in the flames.

This comes after fires in July forced thousands of people to be evacuated in the Gironde département, burning huge areas of the forest – including five campsites.

Since then several other major blazes have broken out and the areas affected include both the north and the south of the country.

The below interactive map from the forest fire tracker FeuxdeForet.fr shows the latest fire reports.

The yellow symbol indicates a small fire that is fixed and under control while the red flame equals a wildfire. The orange triangle indicates a suspected fire, which has not been confirmed as a wildfire.

READ ALSO Is the drifting smoke from France’s wildfires dangerous for your health?

French firefighters warned at the start of the summer that the unusually hot, dry weather has left much of the country ‘a tinderbox’ and wildfires are likely to continue to be a major problem throughout the summer.

Anyone visiting the French countryside is asked to take extra care, since the vast majority of wildfires are started by people.

You should avoid starting fires or barbecues in or near woodland, and you should never throw away cigarette butts into the woods or out of the car window.

You should also be careful where you’re parking your car, because heat from the exhaust pipe can start a fire on dry grass.

READ ALSO What to do if you see a wildfire in France

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ENVIRONMENT

Beluga whale in France’s Seine river dies during rescue attempt

The beluga whale trapped in France's Seine river has died, officials announced on Wednesday after a difficult attempt to rescue it.

Beluga whale in France's Seine river dies during rescue attempt

The beluga that made its way into France’s Seine river reportedly died during the rescue operation that began on Tuesday evening.

The whale was extracted from a lock on the Seine river on Tuesday night, but later died

“Despite an unprecedented rescue operation of the beluga, we are sad to announce the death of the cetacean,” said the prefecture of Calvados on its Twitter account Wednesday morning.

According to French daily Le Parisien, the whale was euthanised.

The rescue operation was reportedly complex, taking about six hours to get the 800 kg whale out of the water and involving at least 24 divers.

Once veterinarians were able to perform a health checkup, they were able to confirm that the animal was in poor health, and was no longer feeding.

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