About 680 hectares of vegetation were devoured on Sunday, April 16, in the Pyrénées-Orientales, by a violent fire fanned by the wind, learned Agence France-Presse from the firefighters and the prefecture of the department.
As a precaution, some 200 people were evacuated in the sector of the municipality of Cerbère and 100 people were confined, explained the prefecture.
The fire broke out in the morning between the two municipalities of Cerbère and Banyuls-sur-Mer. Some 360 firefighters were mobilized to try to slow its progress, according to the prefecture.
The fire was fanned by a strong north wind. Four Canadair and two Dash were deployed to try to put an end to it, said in a tweet the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, who will go there on Monday "to elected officials and firefighters engaged in the field". .
It is currently the largest fire of the year 2023. It broke out in a department particularly affected by the lack of precipitation and the dryness of the soil.
"The reconstitution of water stocks, crucial in winter, has (…) not taken place and the situation of the water tables continues to deteriorate", had recently noted the prefecture of Pyrénées-Orientales. In its press release, it specified that "this phenomenon, which started in June 2022, is still ongoing, and is the longest and most intense since the start of soil moisture monitoring by Météo-France in 1959".