Forest fires were blazing along the French Mediterranean Coast on Thursday (July 16) as seven hundred firemen fought to keep them from spreading.
Forest fires were blazing along the French Mediterranean Coast on Thursday (July 16) as seven hundred firemen fought to keep them from spreading. Already one person -- a farmer -- has died and another person was reported missing in some of the worst forest fires France has known for decades.
The largest of the fires began on Wednesday, and was still raging unchecked by the next day, destroying about 25,000 acres (10,000 hectares) of pine tress and scrubland.
Strong winds spread the blazes along the coast, and while firemen had brought some of the fires under control, others were breaking out.
Smoke hid the sun for most of the day, and thousands of holiday-makers and residents were forced to abandon camp sites and take refuge in their cars and on beaches, while spacial fire-fighting planes showered tons of water on the flames.
Roads in the area were cut, houses had to be evacuated and some electricity lines were brought down. The flames also caused the explosion of a butane gas container near a villa in which four people were injured.
Firemen have been reinforced by 1,300 soldiers, and in Corsica, firs caused people to leave the island in fishing boats, although officials say the flames there are now under control.