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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 June 2018

Hundreds battle wild fires across southern France

About 100 people were moved to safety in Ramatuelle as flames burned some 800 hectares around the Var

Smoke billows during a forest fire in La Croix-Valmer, near Saint-Tropez, on July 25, 2017 as firefighters continue to battle blazes across southern France. Valery Hache / AFP Photo
Smoke billows during a forest fire in La Croix-Valmer, near Saint-Tropez, on July 25, 2017 as firefighters continue to battle blazes across southern France. Valery Hache / AFP Photo

Hundreds of firefighters were on Tuesday battling blazes across southern France that were fanned by high winds in more than a dozen zones in the Riviera region. Four firefighters were injured.

The prefecture of the Var, tweeting on Tuesday, a day after the fires started, said about 100 people were evacuated in Ramatuelle, while five hectares burned in Saint-Tropez.

Flames burned some 800 hectares around the Var, with two villas destroyed in La Croix Valmer, a dozen kilometres west of Saint-Tropez.

Elsewhere in France, a huge fire raged in the forests around Luberon in the Vaucluse region, covering 800 hectares on Monday. But firefighters managed to keep the flames under control by Tuesday.

The largest blaze was in northern island of Corsica, with nearly 2,000 hectares burned.

Residents were evacuated from homes at the edge of the town of Biguglia, on the island's north-eastern coast on Monday.

"The fire is very fierce and heading to urban areas of Biguglia," said Lieutenant-Colonel Michel Bernier, of France's civil defence forces.

The blaze engulfed a sawmill and burned 10 vehicles.

"We are awaiting reinforcements," said regional deputy fire chief Jean-Jacques Peraldi. Around 160 people were battling the blaze aided by more than a dozen fire engines.

Local official Colonel Gerard Gavory said that three firefighting planes were also involved, and "have been surveying the area to make sure no homes are affected".

Another fire on the south of the island, which destroyed 110 hectares around the town of Aleria, was brought under control on Monday, Col Bernier said.

Around 100 homes in the village of Mirabeau and a neighbouring hamlet had to be evacuated, according to officials. As many as 500 firefighters were expected on the scene.

Another blaze in Carros, north of Nice, burned a house, three vehicles and a warehouse and led to some homes being evacuated, according to regional authorities.

More than 270 firefighters were on the scene.

"It's a very dangerous day," Col Bernier said. "And the fight is going to be very, very long tonight."