French Riviera wildfire 'no longer spreading but still not under control'

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 20 Aug, 2021 Updated Fri 20 Aug 2021 17:12 CEST
French Riviera wildfire 'no longer spreading but still not under control'
A firefighter sprays water on a fire site following a wildfire in Les Mayons in the department of Var, southern France, on August 20, 2021. - After five days of fierce fighting by firefighters against the worst fire of the year in France, which killed two people, the fire is "fixed" in the hinterland of the Var region, but "not extinguished" and the emergency services fear that the wind will strengthen. (Photo by SYLVAIN THOMAS / AFP)

The massive wildfire in south-east France that has killed two people, injured dozens of others and destroyed more than 7,000 hectares of land is no longer spreading, officials have said.


But they warned the blaze is still not under control, amid concerns that increasing winds in the coming days would fan the flames. 

Var prefect Evence Richard warned that deteriorating weather conditions over the weekend meant that firefighters ‘cannot rule out new outbreaks’.

READ ALSO Weekend winds ‘risk worsening’ French Riviera fire


More than 1,200 firefighters and 250 fire engines from all over France have been battling the blaze along an 80km front. It is under control, but not yet “out”, officials said. The risk of fresh fires means many exhausted emergency personnel will be on duty over the weekend.

The deceased have been identified as 54-year-old local guesthouse owner named Olivier, and a 32-year-old holidaymaker named Virginie, from the greater Paris Île-de-France region. Their bodies were found in a house that was destroyed by the fire in Val-de-Gilly.

A further 26 people have received medical treatment, mostly for smoke inhalation.

An investigation has been launched into the cause of the fire, which is believed it started at a motorway rest area near the glamorous resort of Saint-Tropez on Monday. 

"We know where it started and we are still working to find out what the exact cause is," investigators said. 

Early and unconfirmed reports suggest that a carelessly discarded cigarette was the most likely cause of the fire, but officials have stressed that the inquiry is continuing.

Meanwhile, gendarmes have appealed for witnesses to the cause of the fire to come forward. 

"The gendarmerie is looking for the testimony of people with information on the circumstances of the start of the fire," they tweeted.

READ ALSO What to do if you see a wildfire in France


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also