28 July, 2017, 12:00 am
BACKED by planes dropping water and fire retardant, about 1000 firefighters are battling bushfires billowing smoke into the sky over France’s southern Cote d’Azur, forcing the evacuation of as many as 12,000 people.
The blaze was the latest of several wind-whipped fires ravaging forest and scrubland on the hills and slopes that spill into the Mediterranean Sea.
France’s Prime Minister, visiting the area, predicted a grim day ahead.
Large swaths of Mediterranean forest had been left bare and blackened after three days of fires.
About 250 trailer homes, a hangar, an atelier and several vehicles were burned in the blazes, but no-one had been injured so far, the prefect of the Var region said.
Residents and tourists were evacuated early on Wednesday (local time) after a ferocious fire whipped by strong mistral winds spread from La Londe-Les-Maures to dense forests around the picturesque hilltop town of Bormes-Les-Mimosas.
About 60 people were evacuated by boat from nearby Cap Benat.
“There will be more fires tomorrow,” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said.
Further south of the French mainland, flames ate through 2000 hectares of forest on the northern end of the French Mediterranean island of Corsica, in what was the largest blaze in France.