At least 10,000 people have been forced to flee campsites and homes after a new fire broke out along the French Riviera.

Wildfires have already consumed swathes of forest in tourist-packed southeastern France in recent days, as well as on the island of Corsica.

The new blaze, in the middle of the holiday season, is raging near Bormes-les-Mimosas, southwest of the popular resort Saint-Tropez on the Mediterranean coast.

The fire broke out just before 11pm on Tuesday and burned 800 hectares of forest by Wednesday morning, with 540 firefighters sent to tackle the blaze.

Around 3,000 campers were among those evacuated from La Londe, La Lavandou and Borme-les-Mimosas.

Among those evacuated were British holidaymakers at the Camp du Domaine campsite in Bormes-les-Mimosas.

All 1,000 camping plots across the site were evacuated, according to Oliver Williams, a deputy head teacher from Redhill, Surrey, who is staying at the resort with his family.

He told Sky News: “My wife woke me up about two o’clock this morning, saying she’d heard the car alarms and people shouting ‘allez, allez’.

Smoke rises from the wildfire in Bormes les Mimosas
Smoke rises from the wildfire in Bormes les Mimosas

“They were chucking everything in the back of a car and trying to get out. That was all a bit surreal and it took a moment to really sink in.”

Mr Williams’ family headed to the campsite’s private beach, where many of the 3,000 evacuated, including French, German and Dutch tourists, had gathered.

“We stayed from about 2am until about 7am and then we were thinking we could probably make our way back to the plot,” he said.

“But we were told we weren’t allowed to go back because the Canadairs were about to fly over and drop water on to the fire.

A plane works to extinguish a wildfire in Bormes les Mimosas, France
A water bomber plane works to extinguish the wildfire

“That’s mixed with some chemicals so they keep people well back.”

He added: “We were all just watching to see what was going to happen with the fire – whether it was going to progress towards us or carry on going over the hill.”

Mr Williams praised French firefighters for their “absolutely amazing job” in tackling the multiple blazes in the area.

Fellow Briton Lisa Minot, The Sun’s travel editor, is also staying at the resort – where the campsite’s sprinkler system was being used in an attempt to stop the blaze jumping across from the hills.

Oliver Williams was evacuated from the Camp du Domaine campsite at 2am
Oliver Williams was evacuated from the Camp du Domaine campsite at 2am

She said: “Everybody was told to evacuate to the beach and they’re still there and they have not allowed us to go back to our caravan.

“It’s utter chaos, there are no provisions or anything else… there’s no one telling us what to do.”

Her mother Carol Bielfield said holidaymakers were trying to stay composed.

“It was keep calm and carry on, make some tea, serve some biscuits and hope that you get some information,” she said.

“But we’ve had no information at all. Everyone gave up, started leaving the beach and then the sirens went off and we were told to go back to the beach, but there’s not been any information.”

Local tourist site Fort de Bregancon, the former official retreat of French presidents, has been shut due to the fire.Amid other blazes burning through the region, people were pictured on the beach at La Croix-Valmer near Saint-Tropez watching as firefighting aircraft dropped water on a raging forest fire.

Officials said that blaze had been contained on Tuesday, with the local mayor describing a “disaster area” that had been left by the flames.In Corsica, residents spoke of “apocalyptic” scenes after a blaze engulfed 1,800 hectares of forest, burning several vehicles and threatening homes.Disaster on the island, situated midway between France and Italy, was averted after the wind died down.In Carros, north of Nice on the mainland, locals described waking up to a “lunar landscape” after a fire.More than 4,000 firefighters and troops have been deployed in total, along with 19 water bomber planes, since the fires broke out in France on Monday.

Six more of the planes have been ordered by the French government while extra firefighters have been drafted in from the north of the country.

At least 12 firefighters have been injured and 15 police officers affected by smoke inhalation.France has asked the EU for help as it deals with the fires, with two firefighting planes sent by Italy.

Also see:  Al Aqsa Mosque Clashes: Israel Bans Men Under 50 From Jerusalem Holy Site


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here