Monday, 16 July, 2018

French PM visits areas worst hit by wildfires

Fires have been raging across southern France striking around St Tropez and on the island of Corsica Fires have been raging across southern France striking around St Tropez and on the island of Corsica
Christy Curtis | 29 July, 2017, 01:45

"First, it was a bit the panic", Roparse said. Most found shelter on the beach.

The French prime minister, Edouard Philippe, has travelled to areas struck by wildfires in France's Cote d'Azur region.

Firefighters said they were exhausted and needed more manpower and equipment.

Still, the Var prefecture said fires in some sites in Bormes-les-Mimosas mean it is "not yet possible" for displaced residents and tourists to return to their homes and campsites.

France asked the European Union to provide two additional aircraft to fight wildfires.

"The fire is probably of criminal origin".

"Someone is certainly responsible ... for me, he is a killer", she told BFM-TV.

About 12 square miles of forest undergrowth in LaCroix-Valmer, near the St. Tropez resort, burned before authorities declared the fire contained, but LaCroix-Valmer deputy mayor Rene Caradante said said the blaze created "a disaster area", before adding that "there's nothing left".

Col. Eric Martin, of the firefighting unit in the Var region of the Cote d'Azur, said on Wednesday that almost 600 firefighters were trying to contain the flames that had run through 1,300 hectares of Bormes, a magnet for tourists in southeastern France. The Civil Protection Agency said 24 water-dropping aircraft were in action. About 800 hectares of back-country forest had burned by morning.

Some 3,000 firefighters have been deployed to contain the flames that broke out on Monday in the south-east of France and on the island of Corsica that have consumed 7,000 hectares (17,300 acres).

The blaze was the latest of several wind-whipped fires that are ravaging forest and scrubland on the hills and slopes that spill into the Mediterranean sea between the Marseilles and the city of Nice in the southeastern corner of France.

Ash floated in the air and vast plumes of smoke covered areas of central Portugal, in the area around Serta, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) northeast of Lisbon.

More than 70 percent of Portugal is enduring a severe drought. Last month, 64 people died trying to flee a forest fire in Portugal.

Firefighting planes continue to douse the area with tons of water and thousands of firefighters were called upon to control the flames.

Spokesman Ardian Bita says fires are blazing in five western and central districts, damaging 15 hectares (37 acres) of pastures, vineyards and dozens of olive trees.

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