A forest fire is raging in southern France, which has already eaten its way through 600 hectares of natural land. There are also fires in other parts of the country. The fire service calls for extreme caution.

Hundreds of firefighters are fighting a rampant forest fire in the Cevennes in southern France, which is fanned by strong winds.

Around 100 people had to leave their homes in the Bordezac area, the prefecture in Nîmes said on Friday night. Residents of other towns were asked to stay safe in their homes. Around 600 hectares of natural areas have already burned. Ten firefighting planes were deployed. The number of mobilized firefighters should be increased to 950 on Friday and that of fire engines to 140.

effects and causes

In a number of other places in southern France, the fire brigades also fought against fires that flared up in nature after prolonged drought. On the outskirts of Arles, 120 firefighters with firefighting planes and a helicopter were deployed. Eight residential buildings were destroyed by the flames, as were stocks of companies in an industrial area and vehicles from several car dealers, the local newspaper “La Provence” reported. The fire was fanned by the so-called Mistral wind, it said.

“This is a wind that has the property of severely drying out vegetation, making it more susceptible to fire and promoting its spread,” fire chief David Gaidet told the newspaper. Due to the early and prolonged drought this year, nature was already as dry at the beginning of July as it usually is at the beginning of August. Extreme caution is required, because nine out of ten forest fires are caused by people negligently, for example by discarded cigarette butts or barbecuing in nature. Access to most forest areas in the mountains has been banned.