French firefighters tackled wildfires raging in the country's southeast today as officials kept a wary eye on a huge blaze that appeared to be contained further west.
France has been buffeted this summer by a historic drought that has forced water use restrictions nationwide, as well as a series of heatwaves that experts say are being driven by climate change.
A reignited "virulent" fire in the Aveyron department near Toulouse today forced the evacuation of more than 130 people, officials said, while another blaze in the department of Drome, south of Lyon, progressed.
The Aveyron and Drome fires have destroyed more than 1,200 hectares.
A fire in the legendary Broceliande forest in the northwestern region of Brittany, where King Arthur roamed, devastated nearly 400 hectares but officials said today the fire was no longer progressing.
A 40-kilometre fire front in the Gironde and Landes departments around Bordeaux also "did not significantly progress overnight. Firefighters are working on its periphery", police said in a statement.
But officials said it was premature to say the blaze - which has already reignited once - was under control.
"We remain vigilant" because "while we can't see huge flames, the fire continues to consume vegetation and soil," Arnaud Mendousse, of Gironde fire and rescue, told AFP.
Officials suspect arson may have played a role in the latest flare-up, which has burned 7,400 hectares since Tuesday.
Weather forecasters are expecting thunderstorms with wind gusts of up to 60 kilometres an hour in the region in the evening.
The wind "could reignite the fire" that "is in a state of pause", Mr Mendousse warned.
In a bid to keep the situation contained, firefighters in Gironde were today busy dousing the hot and still smoking earth with water.
Authorities reopened a highway linking Bordeaux and Spain after closing a 20-kilometre stretch on Wednesday.
Traditional firework displays for the Catholic Feast of the Assumption on Monday, when Mary is believed to have entered heaven, have been banned in several areas.
Corsica was lashed by winds travelling at 95km an hour overnight and hit by hail, Meteo-France said.
Forecaster Claire Chanal said the storms expected this weekend could leading to flooding and hail.
EU members including Germany, Poland, Austria and Romania have pledged reinforcements totalling 361 firefighters to join the roughly 1,100 French ones on the ground, along with several water-bombing planes from the European Union fleet.
Most of the reinforcements had arrived on the ground, with the last 146 firefighters from Poland arriving late afternoon today.
"Here we are all volunteers. We're trained, we want to help," said 36-year-old Tone Neuhalfel, a German firefighter.
The Atlantic port of Brest hit 35.9C, a record for the month of August.
In eastern France, police said they were banning entry to most forests in the Bas-Rhin region near the German border.
Cars, cyclists, hikers, hunters and fishermen are prohibited from entry until Tuesday, police said in a statement. Only residents will be able to access the area.
"It's an extreme step in the face of an exceptional situation," said Pierre Grandadam, president of a group that includes the Alsace forested communities.
"Everything is dry, the slightest gesture can lead to a conflagration. I've never seen anything like it," said the 74-year-old. "We're praying for rain."
Fires in France in 2022 have ravaged an area three times the annual average over the past 10 years, with blazes also active in the Alpine Jura, Isere and Ardeche regions this week.