Marseille : At least 10,000 people were evacuated overnight after a new wild fire broke out in southern France, which was already battling massive blazes that have consumed swathes of forest, authorities said on Wednesday.
The new fire came a day after France asked for Europe’s help to tackle the flames already raging in the tinder dry south, including near the popular resort of Saint-Tropez.
“The evacuations, at least 10,000, followed the progression of the fire. It’s an area that doubles or triples its population in summer,” said a fire service official of the blaze near Bormes-les-Mimosas on the Mediterranean coast.
The number of people on France’s Cote d’Azur bulges in July and August as holidaymakers head to the beach, though the area is experiencing an exceptionally hot, dry summer that has made it especially vulnerable to fires.
On Tuesday over 4,000 firefighters and troops backed by 19 water bombers had already been mobilised to extinguish the flames, which have left swathes of charred earth in their wake. At least 12 firefighters have been injured and 15 police officers affected by smoke inhalation since the fires broke out on Monday, according to the authorities.
With strong winds and dry brush creating a dangerous mix, the government asked its European Union partners to send two extra fire-fighting planes — a request immediately fulfilled by Italy, according to the EU.