French firefighters tame fierce blaze along southern Mediterranean

World Today

Sunbathers are being evacuated from the beach in Le Lavandou, French Riviera, as plumes of smoke rise in the air from burning wildfires, Wednesday, July 26, 2017. French authorities ordered the evacuation of up to 12,000 people around a picturesque hilltop town in the southern Cote d’Azur region as fires hopscotched around the Mediterranean coast for a third day Wednesday. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

Firefighters in France appear to be winning the battle against the flames that swept up along the Mediterranean Coast. Huge fires forced thousands to evacuate the area’s bustling beach towns.

But authorities warn that dry conditions and high winds still pose a threat of further fires.  The devastating impact of a wildfire.

Trees, wildlife, homes in Bormes-les-Mimosas in southern France destroyed by a powerful blaze. 

CGTN’s Dan Williams reports.

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

Authorities said the area is now largely under control.

But with that relief comes anger, with claims that the fires were started deliberately.

“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. This is simply unacceptable,” Francois Arizzi, Mayor of Bormes-les-Mimosas said.

Throughout the day, new fires suddenly spark to life, prompting a quick response by the emergency teams.

“We have many difficulties because of the dry trees and vegetation that has gone without rain for many months. The wind is picking up and is very strong. So normally we could stop these fires quite quickly but this combination is catastrophic,” Frederic Marchi-Leccia, Fire and Rescue spokesperson said.

On Tuesday, more than 10,000 people were evacuated from the area – many of them tourists on holiday at resorts and campsites. Most found shelter on the beach.

Although many people are attempting to continue with their holiday, the threat of fire continues to cast a shadow over the area.