Forest fire rages near French tourist mecca

Forest fire rages near French tourist mecca

15 August 2006

published by www.int.iol.co.za


Saint Tropez, France — A large forest fire broke out near the jet-setters’ summer resort of Saint Tropez on Monday, reaching several millionaires’ villas and causing the evacuation of 3,000 people, French authorities said.

The seat of the blaze was at Ramatuelle, just five kilometres from the chic French Riviera seaside town which this year has hosted celebrities such as rapper Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, heiress Paris Hilton and former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson.

The flames spread quickly due to a violent wind, rescue workers said.

A holiday camp housing one thousand people, and a campsite with 900 residents had to be evacuated, the local town hall reported. Two neighbouring towns offered to host the holidaymakers.

A beach in the area popular with stars and wannabes was under a dark cloud of smoke, visible down the coast 100km away in Nice, local authorities said.

Emergency services deployed nine water-bombing aircraft and 300 firemen to deal with the fire, which appeared under control on Monday evening after having burned through a stretch of pine forest.

The fire caused enormous traffic jams throughout the popular tourist region over a long weekend due to a French public holiday.


 

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