Thousands evacuated as hundreds of firefighters battle fire in southern France


Thousands of people have been evacuated since Monday in southeastern France to escape a rapidly-advancing wildfire.

The evacuations in the coastal Var department took place in the hinterland, particularly around the villages of Grimaud and La Môle, near Saint Tropez.

Twelve campsites were also evacuated, the Prefecture said.

The fire broke out on Monday at the Sigues motorway service area, about 100km north-east of Toulon.

By early morning on Tuesday, it had travelled 22 kilometres and burnt 5,000 hectares of forests. About 100 houses were damaged.

Some 750 firefighters were battling the blaze overnight. Four fire-fighting planes and a helicopter were deployed in the morning to assist them.

The fire service said that “the conditions are unfavourable with a strong wind and high temperatures.”

Several roads have been closed with the authorities urging people to not impede access for emergency services to take pictures.

Many Mediterranean countries have been hit by raging fires this summer which were fuelled by scorching temperatures, including Greece, Italy, Algeria, Spain, Turkey and Morocco,

More than 100,000 hectares were scorched in Greece in what Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis described as the “worst ecological disaster” in decades.