Firefighters in southwestern France battled on Saturday to contain massive wildfires that have spread to an area twice the size of Paris as blazes across the continent continued to rage, forcing thousands to flee their homes.

Iran PressEurope: After more than a week of round-the-clock battling against ferocious flames by more than 1,000 firefighters and up to four water-dropping planes, officials said two major wildfires in the tinder-dry pine forests in southwestern France had been contained but were not extinguished.

In the country's wine region of Bordeaux, more than 50,000 acres of land have been destroyed, the local authority for the Gironde Department said in a statement Saturday.

It added that 36,750 people had been evacuated from the region, although 12,000 had since been allowed to return. An additional 4,000 would be allowed to return to their homes on Saturday, the statement said.

“The problem is wind, temperatures, and the forest. Forest and very low humidity is a problem,” Lt. Col Éric Florensan, a firefighter, told NBC News Thursday at a fire control center in Langon.

The flames were “exceptional,” he said.

Farmers also pitched in using their water trucks to fill up fire engines on the front lines.

“We really, we try to help as much as we can. We have the equipment,” one farmer, Kevin Mouragnon, told NBC News Thursday in a cordoned-off area in the Hostens commune.

“It’s heartbreaking to see such a beautiful thing go up in smoke and we’re powerless,” he said, adding that it was “really sad and makes you feel powerless. You take these big trucks and put it out and it comes back.”

Elsewhere, wildfires have ripped through swaths of land across dozens of countries in Europe this week as the continent swelters under an extreme heat wave.

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