Parts of the French Riviera were evacuated late Tuesday and into Wednesday as forest fires burned swathes of land and threatened thousands of people, according to a statement from the Var police.
Around 10,000 people were moved from the coastal commune of Bormes-les-Mimosas, which is around 40 km (nearly 25 miles) from the town of Toulon, one of the country’s southernmost towns.
The latest fire came a day after France asked for help from the rest of Europe to tackle the flames already raging in the tinder-dry south, including near the popular resort of Saint-Tropez.
“The evacuations, at least 10,000, followed the progression of the fire. It’s an area that doubles or triples its population in summer,” said a fire service official on Wednesday of the blaze near Bormes-les-Mimosas on the Mediterranean coast.
The number of people on France’s Côte d’Azur swells in July and August as holidaymakers head to the beach, though the area is experiencing an exceptionally hot, dry summer that has made it especially vulnerable to fires.
As part of the over 100 operations launched since the outbreak of the fires, firefighting planes have been flying over the Bormes area since early Wednesday morning, dropping water bombs on the blazes.
In the nearby area of Londes-les-Maures, fires began to burn just before 11 p.m. local time and, despite the dispatch of 540 firefighters, have not yet been brought under control.
On Tuesday, more than 4,000 firefighters and troops backed by 19 water-bombers had already been mobilized to extinguish the flames, which have left swaths of charred earth in their wake. At least 12 firefighters have been injured and 15 police officers affected by smoke inhalation since the fires broke out on Monday, according to the authorities.