Wildfires hit French Riviera; more than 10,000 evacuated

Parts of the French Riviera were evacuated late Tuesday and into Wednesday as forest fires burned swathes of land and threatened thousands of people, according to local police.

More than 10,000 residents and tourists were moved from the coastal commune of Bormes-les-Mimosas, around 40 km (nearly 25 miles) from Toulon, one of the country's southernmost towns.

Sunbathers lounging on a beach near Saint-Tropez looked on as a wildfire raged nearby. Children played in the sand, while others snapped pictures on their phones, as flames engulfed pine trees and sent plumes of black smoke billowing overhead.

A combination of strong Mistral winds and a lack of rain have fueled the fires, which took hold in the French Riviera and the island of Corsica, off the southern French coast.

Travel pictures shared by tourists on social media captured firefighting planes circling over sandy beaches and pink sunsets punctuated by smoke clouds.

Over 100 operations have been launched since the outbreak of the fires, with planes flying over the Bormes area since early Wednesday morning, dropping water bombs on the blazes.

Late July and August are when many French residents head out "on holiday," and visit the Riviera (or the Côte d'Azur, as the Riviera is called in French).

In Londes-les-Maures, fires began to burn just before 11 p.m. local time and, despite the dispatch of 540 firefighters, have not yet been brought under control.

The areas of Croix-Valmer, south of the famed resort of St. Tropez, and Artigues east of the regional hub of Aix-en-Provence, saw hundreds of hectares -- around 12 square miles -- of land burned but those blazes are under control, the statement says.

A total of nine firefighters across those two fires were injured.

This BBSNews article was syndicated from News | WPLG, and written by News | WPLG. Read the original article here.