French forest fire ‘under control’ after wide damage

French forest fire ‘under control’ after wide damage

25 July 2010

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France — A forest fire near the south-eastern French city of Marseille ravaged hundreds of acres of woodland on Sunday and forced the evacuation of some 2,000 campers on a summer break. The fire, which broke out on Saturday, was “however contained and under control,” said Luc Jorda, head of the fire and
emergency services in the Bouches-du-Rhone department.

Jorda said a car which had caught fire sparked the inferno.

Firefighters said about 1,600 acres of forest had been destroyed. A camp site at Carry-le-Rouet,a tourist town about 30 kilometres west of Marseille, was evacuated as a precautionary measure.

Herve Artero, who is in charge of the camp site, said about 200 people had been lodged in a gymnasium and added that about 10 percent of the estimated 2,000 campers were foreigners.

More than 600 firefighters, 75 fire trucks and waterbombing planes and helicopters are being used to fight the first forest fire of the season in southern France.


Summer wildfires hit France and Portugal


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A wildfire has destroyed nine square kilometres of vegetation in the south of France, threatening homes and forcing some areas to be evacuated.

It took hold close to oil refineries about 30 kilometres west of Marseille, and spread eastwards into woodland, fanned by strong winds.

The authorities believe the fire was started deliberately when a stolen 4×4 vehicle was set alight in an area not open to traffic. The car was later found burned out.

No-one was injured but around 2,000 tourists had to be moved from a campsite. Some were put up overnight in a nearby gym.

“We can’t go home because they say the fire is swirling around and it’s too dangerous. We’re going to the sea”, said a woman in a car.

“The flames are not far away, we must be careful because of the toxic smoke. The police told us not to stay here,” said another resident.

By morning the winds had calmed down. It was the first large fire in the south of France this summer.

In Portugal several fires erupted across the country. More than 200 firefighters battled against strong winds and high temperatures to contain a blaze in a natural park near Lisbon.

Again police believe arsonists may be to blame. The hot dry weather has put several areas on the highest wildfire alert, especially in the north and centre of the country.


A Firefighter Looks At A Fire Burning In A Pine Forest

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A firefighter looks at a fire burning in a pine forest in Sausset les pins, near Marseille in southern France, July 25, 2010.

Fanned by strong winds, the blaze swept through 900 hectares of pine forest and scrubland in the Marseille region.


Menacing Wildfire Threatens Marseille Suburbs

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THE FIRST WILDFIRE OF THE SEASON took off Saturday evening in the southern region of Rhone, France. The fire traveled through 900 hectares (2,200 acres) before it was brought under control Sunday morning.

During the night the blaze began moving toward the town of  d’Ensuès-la-Redonne when winds of 90 kmh (55 mph) whipped the flames up and directed the fire in that direction.  A total of 450 firefighters were on the scene and had the fire under control and contained by midday Sunday.

Police have opened a criminal investigation into the fire after learning it was started by a burning auto left in the forest.  The car, a Porsche Cayenne had been stolen earlier that morning in Marignane and abandoned.  It hasn’t been learned if the car was left because it had caught fire, or whether it was deliberately torched.

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