wildfires france 2022
© REUTERS
A view of trees burning amid a wildfire near Landiras, France, July 16, 2022.
Since July 10, at least 360 people have been killed in Spain due to a massive heatwave and thousands of individuals have been forced to flee southern France due to a wildfire allegedly sparked by a vehicle having mechanical issues.

The Carlos III Health Institute reported Friday that hundreds have died in Spain as temperatures have skyrocketed to 45 degrees Celsius - or 114 degrees Fahrenheit - in the region. The heatwave has also contributed to massive wildfires in several countries that have scorched thousands of acres of land. In southwest France alone, 12,000 people have been forced to flee to escape multiple blazes.

France's Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne blamed the fire in the La-Teste-de-Buch region on an electric vehicle that had some sort of issue near a wooden glen. The second ongoing wildfire in France is also being investigated for criminal activity.

"80% of the forest fires are estimated to have been started by humans," she told France's BFMTV News.

The mayor of La Teste, Patrick Davet, the village where the La-Teste-de-Buch fire reportedly started, pushed back on Borne's claims, however.

"What Elisabeth Borne says is totally false," he told the French outlet Sudouest, according to an online translation. "The fire started from a van that had broken down and had an electrical problem. Its driver tried to alert the emergency services but the breakdown occurred in an area without a telephone network. He had to walk away to call the fire department. But it was too late."
wildfires southwest france july 2022
© AFP via Getty Image
Over 14,000 people have been told to evacuate France’s Gironde region by July 16, 2022
One tourist visiting France told the local press that he and his son were unable to take their belongings as they rushed to avoid the wildfire.

"We started packing our things but the lady told us, 'No, you have to leave everything as it is,'" the tourist identified as Matthias told BFMTV. "You try to keep calm but it's hard not to be scared because it happens so fast."

The head of France's firefighter federation said they are calling for hundreds of thousands of volunteers to help fight the blaze.

"The situation is highly complex," Gregory Allione told France's RMC TV. "Our morale is still good but fatigue sets in fast. That's why we're calling for a target of 250,000 volunteer firefighters."
wildfires spain july 2022
© UME/J.de Oro via AP
A firefighter works to extinguish a forest fire in the Monsagro area in western Spain in the early hours of July 16, 2022.
Allione also blamed the fires on global warming, claiming that frontline workers see its impacts every day.

"It's firefighters, civil security who deal with the effects on a daily basis - and these effects aren't in 2030, they're right now," Allione told the press.

There are also reportedly at least 20 separate wildfires currently blazing in Spain.