In the south France forest fires have claimed their first victims -- two firefighters died on Sunday (19 August) when they were trapped by flames after strong winds suddenly changed direction.
In the south France forest fires have claimed their first victims -- two firefighters died on Sunday (19 August) when they were trapped by flames after strong winds suddenly changed direction. The strong Mistral wind has been fanning the forest blazes which broke out again on Sunday near Marseilles.
SYNOPSIS: Thousands of holiday-makers had to be evacuated from farms, beaches and camp sites along the French Riviera on Sunday When forest fires swept through new areas of woodland, cutting road links to the southern port of Marseilles. More Than five thousand acres (2020 hectares) of woodland have been destroyed i the latest outbreak adding to the hundred thousand acres (40,000 hectares) already burnt out in blazes this summer.
Some three thousand men, most of them troops, are fighting the blazes. Despite winds gusting to ninety-five miles (150 kilometres) an hour, the firefighters have managed to save the fishing port of Cassis and claim to have the outbreaks near Marseilles under control. The charred bodies of the two victims who were both in their twenties were found in the blackened forest near Cassis. Firemen have been aided by ten Canadair fire-fighting seaplanes which have been dropping water on the flames -- five tons at a time.
Officials believe arsonists may be responsible for some of the fires and one fireman, thirty-one-year ole Rebert Hammadi from Paris, was formally charged with arson in Draguignan on Sunday (19 August) following a fire near St. Tropez which destroyed tow and a half thousand acres (1,000 hectares) of woodland. (As a fireman Mr. Hammadi could face life imprisonment if convicted of the charge. Officials believe it could take as long as ten years to restore the forests destroyed by this year's fores. Meanwhile the Riviera town of Nice is faced with a new problem -- it has had its first rain since April and now firemen are answering scores of calls to pump out flooded callers.