The blaze broke out in a wheat field just outside Béziers in the Hérault département in south west France on Sunday evening.
But the flames quickly spread to the west of the city after having apparently jumped the Orb river and crossed into the town on the western side.
Video posted by MétropolitainFR
Around 160 local firefighters were involved in battling the blaze, and water was dropped from the air onto the burning fields.
Ten police officers were hospitalised with smoke inhalation, but no-one was injured in the damaged homes.
A local man has been arrested in connection with the fire.