thousands evacuated as fire ravages French forests | World news
PARIS (AP) – Hundreds of firefighters fought a blaze on Tuesday that swept through forests near the Côte d’Azur that forced thousands of people to evacuate from homes and vacation spots.
Two firefighters were injured in the fire that broke out Monday evening in the interior of the coastal city of Toulon, said civil security spokesperson Alexandre Jouassard.
Fueled by powerful Mediterranean winds, the fire had consumed some 5,000 hectares (12,000 acres) of forest on Tuesday morning, according to the administration of the surrounding Var region.
Some 6,000 people were evacuated from homes in the region and a dozen campsites, and vacationers were locked in a vacation center for Air France employees.
Supported by planes and helicopters dropping water, more than 900 firefighters worked Tuesday to contain the blaze, the civil security service said. Local authorities have blocked access to forest throughout the region and called for caution.
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Heavy forest fires have swept across southern Europe and North Africa in recent weeks.
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