Around 700 firefighters backed by aircraft are battling a massive blaze in France’s southern Gard département that had already burned 600 hectares (1,500 acres) overnight.
The operation “is continuing, but the fire is advancing more slowly and fortunately is no longer threatening any homes,” a spokesman for the local fire service told AFP, adding that several fire fronts remained “inaccessible”.
Two Milan firefighting planes resumed dumping water on the blaze from early in the morning, the spokesman said.
The prefecture this morning placed several areas of the département on red alert for fire risks.
[#FeuxDeForet]🔥 Risque feux de forêt vendredi 8 juillet
➡ Vigilance Rouge
🔴Val de Cèze
🔴Costières Petite Camargue
➡ Vigilance Orange
➡ Vigilance jaune
ℹ️ https://t.co/2QiNn0kLUx pic.twitter.com/ol6c321QSi
— Préfète du Gard (@Prefet30) July 8, 2022
People in the hamlet of Bordezac and other small settlements in the Besseges area were evacuated on Thursday evening, with the local prefect’s office saying around 100 had to be put up for the night.
Firefighters were drawn from neighbouring regions to battle the flames Thursday, while 12 firefighting planes and two helicopters were also deployed.
The fire service said thousands of hectares of heavily wooded land were under threat, as strong winds fanned the flames through the dried-out trees.
Although several other fires began in the region on Thursday, most were put out before nightfall.