Thousands evacuated in as wildfire spreads near Saint-Tropez

PARIS (Agencies): Thousands of people in southern France have been evacuated as a wildfire rages near the plush resort of Saint-Tropez, the fire service has said. About 750 firefighters and water-dropping aircraft battled the blaze in difficult conditions with high temperatures and strong winds. “Thousands of people have been evacuated as a precautionary measure, but there are no victims,” a fire service spokeswoman said on Tuesday adding the fire was “still very fierce”.

France is the latest of a number of Mediterranean countries to be hit by extreme weather and wildfires, which climate scientists warn will become increasingly common because of man-made global warming. The quickly spreading fire, which broke out about 100km (60 miles) from the Mediterranean city Toulon, has already razed more than 3,500 hectares (8,600 acres) of forest and scrub land as of Tuesday morning, according to the fire department.

Evacuations have mainly taken place around Saint-Tropez and the villages of Le Mole and Grimaud. The Var prefecture confirmed several campsites were cleared and people were asked to avoid congesting the roads around the Gulf of Saint-Tropez so the emergency services can access the area. Wildfires have already flared this summer around the Mediterranean basin, including in Greece, Turkey, Spain, Portugal, Algeria and Morocco.