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Wildfires in southern France force mass evacuation

At least 10,000 people have been forced to flee campsites and homes after a new fire broke out along the French Riviera

26 July 2017, 8:28am
People on beach look at a forest fire in La Croix-Valmer, near Saint-Tropez
People on beach look at a forest fire in La Croix-Valmer, near Saint-Tropez
Wildfires in southern France have forced the evacuation of 10,000 people overnight, officials have said.

Firefighters have been deployed to battle the fires near Bormes-les-Mimoses, in the country's Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, as well as the island of Corsica where wildfires have already consumed swathes of land.

"The evacuations, at least 10,000, followed the progression of the fire. It's an area that doubles or triples its population in summer," a fire service official said.

Over 4,000 firefighters and troops backed by 19 water bombers have been mobilised to extinguish the blazes.

France has asked for Europe’s help in fighting wildfires after some 4,000 hectares of land have burned along the Mediterranean coast, in the mountainous interior and on the island of Corsica.

With strong winds and tinder dry conditions 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.

But one union official denounced what he said was a lack of spare parts preventing all the aircraft required from being put into action.

Interior minister Gerard Collomb announced that France would be adding six more firefighting planes to its fleet during a visit to Corsica on Tuesday.