Ten thousand holidaymakers were forced to flee campsites in southern France yesterday as fires spread through forests.
Many were told to leave their belongings behind as officials rushed to evacuate three campsites near Fréjus on the French Riviera.
There were no deaths or injuries, but witnesses reported scenes of panic as smoke and flames rose above the oak and pine trees, which are tinder-dry after a long heatwave.
Four water-bomber aircraft, two helicopters and more than 300 firefighters and 90 fire trucks were deployed to try to extinguish the fires that threatened the three different campsites.
Thirty mobile homes went up in flames in one site near the seaside town of Fréjus, about 25 miles west of Cannes, and 10 in another, local officials said.
The three affected campsites, which host swimming pools, bars, restaurants and sports facilities, were named as the Holiday Green, which can host 3,000 people, Pin de la Lègue, (5,500 people) and la Pierre Verte (1,500), the Telegraph reported.
Firefighters were also deployed to put out a blaze by a village near the Gorges du Verdon – a spectacular river canyon that is a major tourist attraction.
Local authorities in Fréjus opened three gyms in the town to host some of the people evacuated from the campsites.
Deborah Kinsey, 43, from Maidenhead, who was staying at the Pin de la Lègue, told The Times: “It was fairly traumatic. We were at the swimming pool when we saw huge amounts of smoke and airplanes dropping water, and then the alarms went off and we were told to leave.”
She has been told that she cannot return until today. Her family was due to stay in a hotel last night.
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