Fires which have raged across swathes of southern Europe are being brought under control, but authorities in the countries affected remain on high alert.

Hundreds of fires in Spain, France, Italy and Greece have killed at least eight people this week, destroying thousands of hectares of forest and gutting dozens of homes.

Spain has been the worst hit and thousands of villagers have had to be evacuated to escape wildfires that have killed five firefighters.

Thousands of police and soldiers had been drafted in to help combat seven serious fires in the south and east of Spain.

However, one of the most damaging blazes that raged for more than 36 hours in Mojacar, in the southern Andalusia region, has been stabilised, authorities said.

On the French island of Corsica, some 4,000 hectares acres) of scrub and bush has burnt in 12 separate blazes. Police said arsonists might be behind eight of the fires.

The village of Aullene in the south of the island was especially hard hit, with around a dozen houses and part of an ancient forest devoured by the flames.

On the Italian island of Sardinia, just to the south of Corsica, two people were killed by flash fires on Thursday and the blazes continued yesterday in seven different places.

Forest fires also raged on the southern Italian island of Sicily and in the mainland region of the Marche.

In Greece, more than 320 wildfires have scorched large swathes of forest land across the country this week, but have so far missed homes and buildings.

The Department of Foreign Affairs says it has had no reports so far of any Irish people injured in the fires.