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Wildfire raging near French Riviera kills one, injures 27

More than 7,000 people evacuated from homes and campgrounds have slept in temporary shelters, according to the prefecture.

Published: 18th August 2021 04:40 PM  |   Last Updated: 18th August 2021 04:40 PM   |  A+A-

France wildfires

Thousands fled homes as fire raged on near Le Luc, southern France, Tuesday. (Photo | AP)

By Associated Press

BORMES-LES-MIMOSAS: A wildfire near the French Riviera has killed one person and remained out of control as it raged through forests Wednesday, according to local authorities.

A neighbor found the “burned” body of the fire victim, whose home near the town of Grimaud was destroyed by the fire, the prosecutor in Draguignan commune said in a statement. An investigation has been opened to formally identify the person and determine the causes of death.

French newspaper Var-Matin identified the victim as a man.

At least 27 people, including five firefighters, have suffered smoke inhalation or minor injuries from the blaze, the prefecture of the Var region said in a statement.

More than 7,000 people evacuated from homes and campgrounds have slept in temporary shelters, according to the prefecture.

Over 1,100 firefighters, water-dumping planes and helicopters were being deployed Wednesday to battle the fire, which started Monday evening about 40 kilometers (24 miles) inland from the coastal resort of Saint-Tropez.

Fueled by powerful seasonal winds coming off the Mediterranean Sea, the fire had encompassed 7,000 hectares (17,300 acres) of forest by Wednesday morning, the prefecture said.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who has been vacationing in a nearby coastal fortress, visited the fire zone on Tuesday. He praised firefighters for being able to “stabilize” the blaze.

Local authorities closed roads, blocked access to forests and urged caution. Officials warned that the fire risk would remain very high through Wednesday because of hot, dry weather. Temperatures have reached 40 degrees Celsius (104 F) in recent days.

Wildfires have swept across the Mediterranean region in recent weeks, leaving areas in Greece, Turkey, Italy, Algeria and Spain in smoldering ruins.

While the area is known for its sunny, hot summers, scientists voice little doubt that climate change from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas is driving extreme events such as heat waves, droughts and wildfires. Such hardships are likely to happen more frequently as Earth continues to warm, they say.

In Greece, a major wildfire northwest of Athens, the capital, decimated large tracts of pine forest for a third day on Wednesday.

While the Mediterranean is known for its sunny, hot summers, scientists voice little doubt that climate change from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas is driving extreme events such as heat waves, droughts and wildfires. Such hardships are likely to happen more frequently as Earth continues to warm, they say.



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