A fire in an abandoned stolen car started a forest blaze on the French riviera in which nine people have so far died and many others have been injured.
A fire in an abandoned stolen car started a forest blaze on the French riviera in which nine people have so far died and many others have been injured. The fires began on Thursday night (October I) and are concentrated mainly around the towns of Toulon and Draguignan.
More than 800 firefighters, including troops, battled into the night (Friday) in an attempt to control he flames which were ravaging the pine forests. But gale force winds fanned new fires into life the following morning (Saturday), and the firefighters were reinforced by specialised "Fire-Commandos" who were airdropped over the area.
A total force of more than 1500 firemen, police and soldiers have been fighting the fire which has already destroyed over 4,400 hectares (10,600 acres) of pine forest and brush. Ponies and deer as well as parrots were turned loose from a zoo near Toulon and the keeper was preparing to shoot the wild animals just as the fire-fighters arrived: the flames were only 50 yards (Metres) from the lion cages.
Only two months ago, thousands of hectares (acres) of wood and brush were devastated by forest fires which raged for two weeks around Frejus and neighbouring resorts.