A suspect has been identified and arrested in connection with the fire that broke out in the Alpilles massif region in the south of France yesterday.
The fire in Bouches-du-Rhône, which destroyed 117 hectares and required 600 firefighters and 200 engines to tackle, is now under control.
Police arrested a man in his 30s on Monday, August 22. He is suspected of starting the fire. Witnesses in the area reported an individual showing suspicious behaviour in the area.
He was taken into police custody, and then transferred to a psychiatric hospital, police said.
The blaze in the Alpilles massif, between Aureille and Eyguières, was declared at 16:00 on Monday.
Personnel from neighbouring departments came to help the SDIS 13 emergency service, including those from Var, Vaucluse, and Hérault.
Eight Canadair and three Dash water bombers, plus several helicopter water bombers, also assisted in bringing it under control.
No homes were in danger and no one needed to be evacuated. However, the flames were worsened by “rather violent” winds of up to 90km/h, the fire service said.
The area of the Alpilles massif was declared to be on red risk alert on August 22 because of the high Mistral winds and severe drought conditions.
The fire is the latest to be connected to deliberate arson. It comes after arrests were made in connection with the giant blaze in Landiras (Gironde), and one of the fires in Hérault earlier this month.
So far this summer, 26 people have been questioned in connection with allegedly starting fires in France, when the risk level has been intense due to repeated heatwaves and drought alerts.