700 firefighters battle blaze in southern France

Firefighters spray water to extinguish a wildfire near Besseges, southern France, on July 7, 2022. (Photo: AFP)
BESSÈGES, France — Around 700 firefighters backed by aircraft were on Friday battling a massive blaze in France's southern Gard region that had already burned 600 hectares (1,500 acres) overnight.اضافة اعلان

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 early Friday, adding that several fire fronts remained "inaccessible."

The spokesman said that two Milan firefighting planes resumed dumping water on the blaze from early in the morning.

People in the hamlet of Bordezac and other small settlements in the Besseges area were evacuated on Thursday evening. The local prefect's office said around 100 had to be put up for the night.

Firefighters were drawn from neighboring 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 threatened 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.

Read more Region and World