Fires Roar Through South Of France

Thousands evacuated as wildfires rage in France

Authorities said that while it was safe for most people to return to places they had evacuated after spending the night in makeshift shelters, the fire risk remained at its highest level in other parts of the department.

One hotspot had been brought under control by the hundreds of firefighters tackling the inferno, but two other areas of this mountainous region were not yet secure enough to permit evacuees to return, said authorities from the Department of Var, where the wildfires were located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, Efe news reported.

Southern France is particularly vulnerable to fires, with its dry vegetation and large forests.

Firefighting aircraft made more than 500 drops of water or retardant on Wednesday, Phillipe said, and only three fires remained active in the Var region - out of dozens that started Wednesday.

The fires first broke out Monday and left eight firefighters and 15 police officers injured.

He met with emergency teams as well as some of the twelve thousand people who have been evacuated.

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.


"We need to find the persons responsible and punish them so that they don't do it again, because behind all this there are lives in danger, men who are working day and night, and they are putting their life in danger for the safety of others".

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.

"The fire is contained", Frederic Marchi-Leccia of the Var Fire and Emergency Service told reporters on Thursday of the Bormes-les-Mimosas blaze that has forced many to sleep overnight in gyms and sailing clubs.

Around 370 acres of land was destroyed as the fire spread.

Portugal's peak fire season, which usually starts after July 1, began early this year amid a severe drought. Coldiretti said another 20 percent of the bee population is estimated to have become disoriented by all the smoke and died as a result.

Wildfires also still burned in Portugal, where a fast-moving blaze killed 64 people last month.

The statement said that some 10,000 people - about 3,000 of them campers - were evacuated from La Londe and nearby Bormes and La Lavandou.

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