Europe 1 with AFP 8:43 p.m., August 10, 2022

The Mende prosecutor's office said on Wednesday that a man implicated in Monday's fire which ravaged 700 hectares on the edge of Lozère and Aveyron has been indicted for "involuntary destruction by fire" and placed under judicial supervision.

Firefighters said the fire was started on Monday by agricultural machinery.

A man implicated in Monday's fire which ravaged 700 hectares on the edge of Lozère and Aveyron has been indicted for "involuntary destruction by fire" and placed under judicial supervision, the prosecution said on Wednesday. of Mende.

This man "reported to the gendarmerie on Wednesday morning, was heard and then presented to an examining magistrate, who indicted him for "involuntary destruction by fire of wood, forest or moorland which could create irreversible damage to the environment by violation of an obligation of safety or prudence", declared to AFP the substitute prosecutor of Mende, Magali Espaze.

He was released and placed under judicial supervision, said the magistrate, insisting on the fact that he benefited from the presumption of innocence.

According to the firefighters, the fire was started on Monday by an agricultural machine, one element of which, by scraping the tar from the road, caused sparks which set fire to the vegetation along a departmental road in Lozère, near Massegros , before extending to the neighboring department of Aveyron.

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“Only one respondent” in this case

The deputy prosecutor did not wish to specify the identity or the profession of the man under investigation, while stressing that there is "only one defendant" in this case, for which she opened an investigation, the fire having started in his department.

Calling for the greatest vigilance in professional and leisure activities, she stressed that even if one starts a fire unintentionally, one risks criminal prosecution for lack of precaution and prudence.

The penalty in this case is 5 years in prison.

About 3,000 campers and residents of two villages in Aveyron had to be evacuated on Tuesday as a precaution because of this fire which stopped progressing without being brought under control.