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France evacuates 10,000 campers as Provence burns

28 july 2015, 12:38

French officials evacuated 10,000 people from three different campsites Monday as hot winds fanned fires in drought-hit Provence in the middle of the summer holiday season, officials said, AFP reports.

Three fires broke out in the southeastern Var region, spreading quickly as strong winds whipped the  area, which is parched due to a lack of rain and high temperatures.

Thirty mobile homes went up in flames in one camping site in Frejus, about 40 kilometres west of Cannes, and 10 in another, local government said in a statement, adding over 200 firemen and 50 firetrucks were battling the blaze.

Four water-bomber aircraft and two helicopters were deployed to fight a fire in a village near the Gorges du Verdon -- a river canyon that is a major tourist attraction in the region.

Meanwhile a forest fire raging since Friday in southwestern France has now ravaged some 580 hectares (1,433 acres) of pine forest on the western edges of the city of Bordeaux.

With much of France affected by drought, President Francois Hollande visited the Var area on Monday -- before the fires broke out there -- to observe an exercise in fighting forest fires.

"Unfortunately weather conditions are favourable to the fire starting up again (near Bordeaux), with the wind and the drought. We must be vigilant all over France," he said.

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