CM – Firefighters continue their efforts to suppress forest fires near the French Riviera



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By Daniel Cole and Angela Charlton, Associated Press

Fires continue to burn near the French Riviera, with new pockets of flames thwarting crews’ best efforts to put them out.

Despite calmer winds and cooler temperatures Weather ravaged the fire, which forced thousands to flee and ravaged forests, on Thursday for a fourth day, defying around 1,200 firefighters who struggled to get it under control.

The fire that killed two people and 26 were injured, is the latest of numerous large forest fires that scorched the Mediterranean region this summer.

The spokesman for the regional fire service, Florent Dossetti, described it as one of the worst forest fires in southern France in centuries.

The fire has burned 8,100 hectares of forest around 24 miles inland from the coastal town of Saint-Tropez since it broke out on Monday.

Several thousand people had to wait During the summer holidays in France, evacuate campsites, hotels and houses throughout the region.

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In addition to chestnuts, oaks and pines, the flame also consumed vineyards in the rolling hills of the low-lying Maures mountain range.

Smoke swept through wooded valleys, sirens howled and the propellers of fire brigade helicopters lashed over them.

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Previously, local authorities had said the fire was « less violent and its progress has slowed. »

But on Thursday new bursts of flames ignited in three places, making fire-fighting measures difficult, Dossetti said.

« We are working to drown the edges (of the fire) to make sure it is extinguished and to avoid new flames, » said Mr Dossetti.

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A family who own olive trees and a vineyard use shovels to put out flames near Le Luc (Daniel Cole / AP)

The regional administration warned that the risk of new flames was still high and kept several streets closed.

About 2,000 people who had been evacuated from campsites earlier this week were allowed to return, the administration said a statement, although thousands of other evacuees were staying in shelters.

In the Gulf of Saint-Tropez, huge depth charges could be seen falling to fill their bellies with water to throw them over the flaming hinterland of the Riviera .

Scientists say there is little doubt that climate change, through the burning of coal, oil, and natural gas, is driving such extreme weather events, and that the world will experience more of them as the planet warms.

Forest fires This summer, areas in Greece, Turkey, Italy, Algeria and Spain have left in smoldering ruins.

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In Greece, hundreds of Greek and Polish firefighters fought for a fourth day on Thursday against a large forest fire that decimated a pine forest northwest of the Greek capital.

The fire near the village of Vilia, about 60 kilometers from Athens away, has already burned thousands of hectares, destroyed some houses and resulted in evacuation orders for several villages in the area. Strong winds, which are forecast for later in the day, could make the extinguishing work more difficult.

On the Croatian island of Hvar, a major fire that broke out overnight burned bushes, olive trees and some pine forests.




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