Holidaymakers flee wildfires in south of France

Wildfires raging through the French Riviera have forced holidaymakers to flee as parts of the region including campsites were evacuated.

Thousands caught up in the safety operation as local authorities said flames had engulfed some 4,000 hectares (9,880 acres) of land in southern France.

La Londe-les-Maures, nearby Bormes-les-Mimosas and La Lavandou in the Var area of Provence saw some 10,000 people evacuated, including 3,000 campers, a statement from the prefecture said.

Four tracker planes and a firefighting aircraft had formed part of the emergency response after fires became ferocious at around 11pm last night.

Hundreds of firefighters are battling to bring several blazes under control since they broke out on Monday, including the one which has scorched 800 hectares in Var and another in northern Corsica.

The picturesque corner of southern France has long been a popular holiday destination and is at the start of the summer season.

Planes were seen contributing to the emergency response, after French authorities asked the European Union for help.

Lisa Minot, a British journalist who had been visiting a campsite at Bormes-les-Mimosas in Var, claimed thousands of people were asked to leave in the middle of the night.

She told BBC News this morning: "The fires have been going all night, our campsite has its own beach and at two o'clock this morning they evacuated everybody.

"There are about 1,000 pitches in the campsite, they evacuated everyone down to the beach and we have been here ever since.

"There are very strong winds ... and this is what is hampering the efforts to fight the fire, because they really cannot predict where the flames are going to go next."

She said around 3,000 people had been moved to the beach and asked not to move by authorities, adding: "The sun has come up and it is going to be 31 degrees today, but because of the pool smoke that is over the entire sky, the sun is not as hot as it probably could be."

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