A wildfire has caused 70 people to be evacuated, and destroyed 620 hectares in Gard, south of France – with the fire not yet under control and at risk of continuing for several days, firefighters have warned.
The fire near Bordezac in Gard (Occitanie) began yesterday afternoon (July 7) in an area of dense vegetation. The last firefighter report from 08:00 today said that 680 personnel had attended the scene, along with two Dash aircraft.
High winds overnight made the operation more complicated, said the deputy prefect Jean Rampon, who was helping to manage the incident.
A total of 70 people have been evacuated as a precautionary measure in the villages of Bordezac and Bessèges.
Firefighter lieutenant-colonel Eric Agrinier told FranceInfo that the fire is still “spreading freely” and that it is “a fire that is set to last for several days”.
So far, no homes have been affected, but one outhouse, a garage, and two cars in Bordezac have been destroyed.
Some 18 firefighters have been injured and one hospitalised, although their condition is not known. No residents have been hurt at this stage.
Another fire in the department, near Générac, has also destroyed 235 hectares of vegetation, with 100 more firefighters in attendance there, alongside 30 fire engines. The fire there is under control but personnel remain on the scene to keep watch.
In a statement from July 7, Gard firefighters said: “The villages of Bordezac, Besseges, and Gagnières are directly threatened. Residents must remain in their homes. Only security services can decide if they should evacuate.”
It comes after a fire colonel, who helped put out an 80-hectare fire in Aude in early June, warned of a “difficult summer ahead” for the country, most of which is at high risk for forest fires.
Another blaze in Gard, in mid-June, saw more than 2,000 campers evacuated. And at the start of the same month, several forests were closed in Var due to drought conditions and strong wind, both of which increase the risk of fire.
FEU DE BORDEZAC La population de Besseges, Bordezac, et Gagnières doivent rester confinées dans leur habitation afin de rester en sécurité. Seuls les services de sécurité peuvent décider de leur évacuation. pic.twitter.com/aXUHC08mbs— Sapeurs Pompiers du Gard (@pompiersdugard) July 7, 2022