Hundreds of fire fighters tackle forest fires in southern France, three fire fighters injured
In drought conditions and with temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius, the first forest fires have broken out in southern France, some of them fuelled by strong winds. Near Narbonne, close to the border with Spain, 300 fire fighters with dozens of emergency vehicles, fire fighting aircraft and helicopters fought a blaze until the early hours of Saturday, 11 June 2022, which engulfed about 120 hectares of pine forest, according to the prefecture.
Several fires started in the Gard department (Occitanie) Monday, 13 June 2022, with one destroying 60 bungalows at one of Europe’s largest campsites. More than 185 hectares were burned before the blaze was brought under control.
A total of 240 fire fighters, including some from neighbouring departments, were on-site.
The first fire of the day was declared at Grau-du-Roi, near the coast, at the Espiguette campsite, which has more than 2 000 sites over 42 hectares between the sea and the Camargue region. Among the 3 000 holidaymakers registered as staying at the site, no one was injured; although three fire fighters called to the scene were slightly hurt during the operation, said commander Christophe Marin-Tallon.
More than 2 000 holidaymakers were evacuated. The prefecture said, “They were taken to safety or left the area under their own steam, to the city's congress centre and the yacht club: no one in the campsite is in danger anymore.” Some campers were invited to take up sites in neighbouring campsites.
Further to the north, around 20km from Nîmes, around 100 hectares of forest were burned. Canadair planes made several flyovers during the day, to help put out the flames.
In Lédenon, a town near the famous Pont du Gard, 65 hectares of undergrowth, forest and brushwood also went up in smoke.
Around 60 fire fighters, helped by a team from Vaucluse, worked to protect houses, including a stud farm with about 30 horses.
Canadair jets were also called to intervene at a fire in Blauzac, where another 20 hectares were burnt. On the Côte d’Azur, flames broke out on Saturday in the mountainous hinterland of the town of Grasse, known for its perfume industry. According to the fire brigade, 150 officers were fighting the flames in terrain that was difficult to access.
The brigade had been able to prevent the flames from spreading to several houses and a perfume factory.
Sources: Euro News, AFP, France 24