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3,000 people evacuated as wildfire spreads in southern France

The Aveyron fire has not caused any injuries. Hundreds of firefighters are at the scene to tackle the blaze this morning

French firefighters tackle a blaze. Picture is representative and does not show current Aveyron fires Pic: Bumble Dee / Shutterstock

Around 3,000 people in Aveyron have been evacuated from their homes overnight between Monday and this morning (August 9) as a wildfire spreads in the forests around Mostuéjouls, on the border with Lozère. 

The fire, which started yesterday in Lozère (Occitanie), has burned around 700 hectares of forest so far, and is still spreading.

Of those who have been evacuated, 1,200 have been put up in temporary shelters, including gymnasiums and town halls, while the others have joined friends or family members. 

The evacuees include local residents and people staying at campsites around the Gorges du Tarn.

The Aveyron prefect says that there have been no injuries or casualties, and the evacuations were a precaution. 

The Service Départemental d'Incendie et de Secours de l'Aveyron (SDIS de l'Aveyron) is warning people to stay away from the area around Massegros Causses Gorges and Mostuéjouls. 

Google maps places a pin on areas where there are wildfires, with the information updated regularly. 

You can see where the wildfire is, approximately, on the map below. 

Screenshot / Google maps

There are 600 firefighters on site tackling the blaze as well as three support planes that arrived at 07:00 this morning. 

Jordan Dieudonné, captain of the SDIS de l'Aveyron, said that the fire calmed during the night due to the drop in temperatures, but he feared “daybreak and the return of intense heat”. 

The fire first broke out yesterday near Massegros Causses Gorges in Lozère after parts of an agricultural vehicle fell onto a road causing sparks, which set light to nearby fields. 

Jean-Paul Pourquier, the mayor of Massegros Causses Gorges, said that by 21:30 last night, “250 hectares of forest had been ravaged”. 

The fires are now mainly in the department of Aveyron, having spread across the border. 

Several other forest fires around France

France is currently experiencing very high summer temperatures and record droughts, which are combining to provoke forest fires around the country. 

There is also a fire burning near Voreppe in the department of Isère, and in several parts of Morbihan (Brittany).

Read more: Brittany, Dordogne, Isère: evacuations as new wildfires hit France

The fourth heatwave of the summer began yesterday (August 8), with temperatures reaching close to 40C in southern departments such as Gard and Vaucluse. These high temperatures are expected to spread to other parts of the country as the week goes on. 

Read more: France’s fourth heatwave of the year forecast for this week

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