French President Emmanuel Macron said firefighters succeeded in “stabilize” the latest blaze, which raged in forests near the Côte d’Azur on Tuesday and forced thousands of people to flee their homes, campsites and hotels in a picturesque area that’s popular with residents and tourists alike.
It was the latest in a summer of forest fires sweeping through the region, leaving areas in Greece, Turkey, Italy, Algeria and Spain in smouldering ruins.
The blaze has been reported about 40 kilometres inland from the coastal resort of Saint-Tropez since Monday night, at the height of the French summer summer holidays.
Fuelled by strong seasonal winds roaring out from the Mediterranean, the fire had spread to more than 5.000 hectares of forest by Tuesday morning, according to the Var Regional Government.
About 6.000 people have been evacuated from their homes and a dozen camping sites, while others were trapped inside a vacation center for Air France staff.
At least 22 people suffered smoke inhalation or light burn injuries while two firefighters are amongst the wounded, authorities said.
“a violent fire”Carlo Zaglia
Carlo Zaglia, spokesman for the area’s fires department, talked about a “violent fire” raging in the mid-foothills of Morrovia making it very difficult for the firefighters “very difficult for firefighters to reach the trees and battle the fire.”
In Greece, hundreds of firefighters supported by water cannon battled a major forest fire that forced the evacuation of a nursing home and several communities north west of Athens on Tuesday.
Merci aux plus de 900 pompiers mobilisés pour combattre les violents incendies qui sévissent dans le Var. J'exprime la solidarité de la Nation à l'ensemble des sinistrés. pic.twitter.com/fJXev1Bnvn
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) August 17, 2021