Thousands of people evacuated, hundreds of firefighters fight fire in southern France

Thousands of people have been evacuated since Monday in southeastern France to escape a rapidly spreading forest fire.

Evacuations in the coastal department of Var were carried out inland, particularly around the settlements of Grimaud and La Mol, near Saint-Tropez.

Twelve campsites were also evacuated, the prefecture reported.

The fire broke out on Monday near the Sigues freeway, about 100 km northeast of Toulon.

By early Tuesday morning, it had traveled 22 kilometers and burned 5,000 hectares of forest. About 100 homes were damaged.

About 750 firefighters fought the fire throughout the night.

In the morning, their ranks were joined by another 150 firefighters, as well as 120 gendarmes sent to protect the area.

On Tuesday, four firefighting planes, a helicopter and two Dash planes were sent to assist the firefighters, dropping flame retardant.

The fire department said that “conditions are unfavorable: high winds and high temperatures.”

Var is among only two departments in which a yellow warning was issued Tuesday morning because of the extreme heat.

Several roads were closed, and authorities are urging people not to obstruct emergency services’ access for operations.

Many Mediterranean countries have been hit by raging fires caused by scorching temperatures this summer, including Greece, Italy, Algeria, Spain, Turkey and Morocco,

More than 100,000 hectares of land were scorched in Greece in what Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called “the worst environmental disaster” in decades.

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