Investigators in France sweep the remains of wildfires to find clues of their origin

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They investigate as if at a crime scene. After a fire, gendarmes, firemen and foresters go in search of the slightest clue to discover the origin of a fire. 

In Générac, a small town in the Gard region of southeastern France, nothing is left to chance.

“Once we have identified the presumed area, we will mark it out and then we will comb it like a classic crime scene,” said Pascal Sperandio from Nîmes Gendarmerie. “We will meticulously investigate it to see if we discover a catalyst, an accelerant, or an element that could be the cause of the fire.

A cigarette butt, traces of fuel, or testimonies of walkers or residents can determine whether the fire is accidental or criminal.

According to the figures of the ONF, the National Forestry Office, 90% of fires are caused by human interference.

Rising temperatures and drought caused by global warming increase the risk of fires. 

This year, France had its driest July on record and wildfires have been rampant in the south of the country.