France wildfires force mass evacuation

A firefighter battles a fire in Artigues, south-eastern France. Photo: 25 July 2017

Wildfires in south-eastern France have forced the evacuation of 10,000 people overnight, officials say.

Hundreds of firefighters have been deployed to battle the fires near Bormes-les-Mimoses, in the country’s Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region.

France earlier asked its EU neighbours for more help fighting the fires.

Some 4,000 hectares (15.4 sq miles) of land have burned along the Mediterranean coast, in the mountainous interior and on the island of Corsica.

“The evacuations, at least 10,000, followed the progression of the fire,” a fire official was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

“It’s an area that doubles or triples its population in summer,” the official added.

One of the worst fires is raging in an area near the popular resort of Saint-Tropez.

In Corsica, hundreds of homes have been evacuated.

Overall, more than 4,000 firefighters and troops backed by water bombers have been trying to extinguish the flames since Monday.

At least 12 firefighters have been injured and 15 police officers affected by smoke inhalation, officials say.

People sit on the beach as they look at Canadair aircraft dropping water over a fire in La Croix-Valmer, near Saint-Tropez. Photo: 25 July 2017Image copyrightAFP/GETTY IMAGES
Image captionWater bombers have been deployed to battle the fires, as holidaymakers have been asked to stay on the beach
People stand outside a house as a fire burns Ortale di Biguglia, Corsica. Photo: 25 July 2017Image copyrightAFP/GETTY IMAGES
Image captionHundreds of home have been evacuated in Corsica

Lisa Minot, a British tourist staying in a campsite in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, told the BBC she saw planes scooping up water from the sea and then going back “into the pool of black smoke” on the coast.

Ms Minot said the local authorities had asked holidaymakers to stay on the beach as it was not safe to stay in the campsite.

She added that there were reports that some campsites had already been destroyed by the blazes.


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