They say it is apocalyptic heat. In southwest France, insatiable wildfires are ravaging the forest and threatening thousands of houses.
As we head towards the fire zone, miles of blackened trees line the route – ash where once there was life.
“Today is very critical,” explains our official escort, Stephanie Martin from Villenave-d’Ornon fire and rescue service.
“The problem is the wind. We don’t know at the moment which direction it will take.”
This year’s wildfires are already some of the worst in memory and they’re not yet under control.
“How long do you think you’ll be here?” I ask.
“I think at least two weeks,” Stephanie replies.
The problem isn’t just the sweltering temperatures. Many of the fires are deep within the forest, where hundreds of firefighters try to contain the flames.
A plane flies overhead dropping fire retardant liquid on to the land below.
But we can’t stay to watch – officials say it’s too dangerous.
The wind has changed again and it’s time to leave as the fire could sweep through in our direction at any moment.
Evacuations have emptied streets and homes in the fire’s path but not everyone’s heeding the warning.
Local officials at French Civil Protection get a call about a pensioner refusing to leave her animals.
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Teams are immediately sent to find her – to tell her the fire is coming.
But when we arrive, she’s not budging.
“Non! Non, non, non,” the 86-year-old repeatedly tells the officials trying to persuade her to come with them.
They say she can bring her pet dogs.
She replies she’s lived here all her life and isn’t going anywhere.
She says she’ll die here.
The mayor and police arrive but there’s no changing her mind.
In the end, all they can do is take her details and tell her to block the doors with wet towels if she smells smoke.
They say the firefighters will have to come and get her if the blaze arrives at the village.
“I think it’s very dangerous because it means you have to ask for other people to come during the firefighting,” says Marion Levasseur, from French Civil Protection.
Others in the area have listened.
In a nearby shelter, we meet some of the thousands of evacuees who’ve left their homes.
They grabbed what they could, packed up their pets and drove away.
They have no idea when they will be able to return.
Fire is continuing to rip through southwest France, and the battle is far from over.
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