French Minister Blames Almost All Fires on Human Error
French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin believes that at least nine out of ten forest fires are caused by pyromaniacs or accidentally caused by human activity.
He mentioned, for example, a large forest fire southwest of Bordeaux, in the Gironde department, where there was also a huge forest fire in July. Darmanin thinks that the blaze of that fire, a little further away, is the work of criminals, he told French media. The fire started in several places over a certain period of time.
As a precaution, 8,000 people have already been evacuated from their homes after the fire. Darmanin called for more volunteer firefighters to be sent from across the country and said Italy and Sweden would send additional fire-fighting planes on Thursday to help extinguish the fire.
There are many wildfires in the country in dry summers, and often there are subsequent arrests of people suspected of having started them. Among the suspects arrested this season is a man who, as a volunteer fire department member, started trying to start wildfires as early as May because he likes to put out fires. Other frequently mentioned causes are carelessness with fire and car accidents in which a burning vehicle hits a roadside and sparks from trains.
A forest fire broke out in the north of the Ardèche department on Wednesday and is said to have started along the shoulder of the track of a tourist steam train.