Thousands of people were evacuated after a massive fire broke out in the Gironde region of southwestern France on Tuesday night, the latest in a spate of wildfires that France has been experiencing this summer, local media reported on Wednesday.

About 500 firefighters are battling the blazes with the assistance of local water bombers, Martin Guespereau, the delegate prefect for Gironde, told reporters on Wednesday morning.

“Our first objective, in this fight, is to save human lives,” he stressed.

The fire initially ignited on Tuesday in the Hostens, Sainte-Magne, and Cabanac-et-Villagrains municipalities, which lie in the south of Gironde. They quickly burned 6,000 hectares (14,826 acres) and 6,000 people were evacuated throughout the night, according to news outlet franceinfo.

He said the fire reportedly destroyed 16 houses but caused no casualties.

Two of the fires that originated in Hostens and Cabanac-et-Villagrains were about 20 kilometers (about 12.5 miles) apart. But, the latter spread into the Landes region throughout the night, according to officials, who described the fire as "very virulent."

Firefighters made 215 evacuations in the Landes region overnight.

France is in the middle of its fourth heat wave characterized by extreme temperatures and persistent drought that has wreaked havoc on farmers and municipalities alike.

Tuesday and Wednesday’s fires are offshoots of a massive forest fire that took place in Landiras during the month of July, a commune within Gironde that burnt 13,000 hectares (32,124 acres).

According to Guespereau, that fire was never truly extinguished, but merely brought under control.​​​​​​​