Fires in southern France have turned hundreds of hectares to ash. Photo: AFP
Firefighters warned that the fire risk on Tuesday will be “very severe” in the département of Var, southern France, where 10,000 holidaymakers were forced to flee on Monday due to an approaching forest fire.
One witness, British man Darren West, said there was “panic and anxiety” as four-metre flames caused caravans in the park to burn – but added that it was back “to business as usual” at the Pin de la Lègue.
“There are lots of fireman around as a precaution but there's not much damage to public areas,” he told The Local on Tuesday morning.
He added that there only the far corner of the site was damaged by the fire, adding that he felt it was a lucky miss.
Authorities said that 300 firefighters and 90 vehicles were mobilized, adding that 19 hectares of land and 40 mobile homes were burned to the ground.
They announced early on Monday evening that the fires had been contained and that the public were no longer at risk.
The holidaymakers at the three evacuated campsites in the Var were allowed to return on Monday evening once firefighters gave the all clear.
Another fire, which began on Friday to the west of Bordeaux, saw the homes of over 1,000 people evacuated.
An estimated 600 hectares were torched (around the size of 600 rugby fields), but officials also announced that the fire had finally been contained by Monday night.
Police took to Twitter late on Monday to say that they had arrested two people suspected of causing the blaze.
While it was these two fires that caused the most damage and saw the most media attention, they were just two of the forest blazes to break out southern France on Monday.
Bandol, Bauduen, and Cadiere d'Azur, which are all also in the Var départment in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, each saw fires that burned a few hectares of land, prompting a both firetrucks and water bombers to be mobilized.
An estimated 15 hectares were burnt in several smaller fires on the island of Corsica, off France's south-west coast.
Emergency crews have been taking no chances with the forest fires, and their preventative measures have ensured that no serious injuries have occurred.
President Francois Hollande, who visited Var on Monday, said France had to remain vigilant as it was “inadvertence, negligence, and stupidity” that were most often the cause of such fires.