Southern France swelters in heat

French authorities are fighting wildfires, keeping an eye on isolated elderly populations and advising people to drink fluids as temperatures soar in the country.

Heatwave warnings were issued for a swath of central and southern France, from Burgundy to the Pyrenees. Temperatures are expected to reach up to 40C (104F) in some areas.

The government is determined to avoid a repeat of the summer of 2003, when about 15,000 people died during a heat wave.

Wildfires raged around Lacanau in the south-west yesterday. Patrick Stefanini, prefect for the Aquitaine region, said on French television that they were brought under control today.

French television is airing public service announcements with recommendations to drink water and wear hats.