A fire which broke out yesterday (July 26) in Hérault in the south of France has covered 1,000 hectares and caused 300 people to be evacuated.
Authorities today say the flames are still not fully under control but are “no longer progressing”.
#Herault | Important en cours dans l'#Hérault :— Pompiers de France (@PompiersFR) July 26, 2022
⚠️Ne gênez pas les secours, évacuez sur ordre.
500 pompiers mobilisés + 2 canadairs & 1 Dash
+ 500 hectares brulés pic.twitter.com/5fUZbC0JjP
They believe that the fire, which is affecting the communes of Saint-Bauzille-de-la-Sylve, Gignac and Aumelas about 20kms to the west of Montpellier, was started deliberately.
This is because several blazes sprang up at a similar time within a small area, later combining to form one large fire.
“We believe that [the fire] is a criminal [act], it is disastrous,” the mayor of Gignac, Jean-François Soto told Franceinfo, adding that there is a nature reserve very nearby.
“When you see all the efforts that we make, all the resources that we put into it, and this result at the end, it’s hard.”
Montpellier’s public prosecution department has opened a criminal investigation into the incident.
Eric Suzanne, the subprefect of Lodève, which is near to the scene of the fire, has said this morning (July 27) that it is “no longer progressing but we remain very vigilant”.
Hérault’s fire service has stated that the blaze is “not yet under control, because we have many fronts to tackle”.
The fire is said to be in a sparsely populated, scrubland area which is “difficult to access”.
Les Canadairs au lac de Salagou #incendie #Herault pic.twitter.com/mjhDVcGn1I— Marc FICHET (@mfichet) July 26, 2022
The fire has covered 1,000 hectares of land, of which it has destroyed 800. Some 300 people have been evacuated but there have been no reported injuries among residents and no buildings have been damaged at this stage.
Some five firefighters have sustained mild injuries, the authorities have said.
There are 650 firefighters at the scene, working to bring the fire completely under control.
Turtle lays 100 eggs on beach in southern France, tourists kept away
Trapped, injured or fleeing: the animals caught in France’s wildfires
Could a Middle Ages law be reason for wildfire in southwest France?
GRAPHS: See how recent French wildfires compare to previous years