Houses destroyed as forest fire rages at south of France tourist spot

More than 32 hectares have already been destroyed and the fire is not yet under control

Around 200 firefighters have been tackling the blaze
Published Last updated

Houses have been destroyed and people evacuated after a fire broke out close to a popular south of France tourist spot, with the flames still not yet under control, say firefighters.

The blaze began at around midday yesterday (Wednesday, August 23) in the hamlet of Bois, near the commune of Crots, in Hautes-Alpes. The fire still burns over 38 hectares, and one firefighter has been injured.

The hilltop site is very close to the popular tourist spot of Lake Serre-Ponçon (below), and the Pont de Savines, in the Boscodon valley. The man-made lake is the largest in France and a haven for holiday-makers.

The bridge of Savines-le-lac in the French Alps, over a idyllic blue lake. An arrow points over a ridge in the distance.
The fire started behind the ridge in this picture of the bridge of Savine-le-lac. Pic: Lamax / Shutterstock

Credit: Mike Workman / Shutterstock

A team of almost 200 firefighters are on-site trying to bring the blaze under control. Firefighters from Savines-le-Lac, Embrun, Guillestre, and Gap joined together to tackle the incident, while fire engines from the Alpes-Maritimes are also being used.

Four Canadairs and one Dash water bomber have also been deployed, after Colonel Alain Juge, departmental director of the Hautes-Alpes fire department, appealed for aircraft support. Their work has been made more difficult by the strong winds, Le Dauphiné Libéré reports.

The fire - which is thought to have been started by a faulty combine harvester - has already destroyed more than 32 hectares of vegetation, and there is a risk that it could spread further, the fire service SDIS 05 has said.

This is because the Hautes-Alpes are still on orange alert (the second-most severe) for a canicule (heatwave).

The small hamlet of Bois was evacuated, and several houses have been significantly damaged by the flames. The mairie requested that all cars be moved from the area to allow the emergency services better access.

The local mairie has invited anyone who may be able to help as a volunteer, or offer nearby places to stay for those evacuated, to get in contact on 04 92 43 13 05..

Related articles

French energy suppliers criticised for ‘problematic’ pricing practices

Electricity prices are rising in France: How much more will you pay?

Electricity bills to rise in France as price rise protection reduced