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France Loses Nearly 1,000 Hectares to Forest Fire

A plane drops fire retardant over a forest fire on a hill near the village of Banyuls-sur-Mer, southwestern France on April 16, 2023.

French firefighters are trying to extinguish a large fire that has broken out on the country’s southern border with Spain. It is France’s first major forest fire of the season.

“We deplore the loss of nearly 1,000 hectares,” Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said Monday. The fire is under control, but it has not been fully extinguished, the minister added.

Darmanin cautioned that this summer will be “extremely difficult” due to a dry winter in southern Europe. He said he expects the fires will be “as difficult as summer 2022,” when 785,000 hectares were decimated in Europe.

France has deployed about 500 firefighters for the blaze on its border with Spain.