Wildfire Threatens Oil Refinery In Southern France

Terrified Britons were among thousands of holidaymakers evacuated from campsites after a wildfire rage through the south of France this weekend. The blaze, fanned by a strong Mistral wind, razed almost 3,000 acres of woodland on the Mediterranean coast near Marseille. Around 2,000 campers, including an estimated 300 British tourists - on a campsite at Carry-le-Rouet were moved out of their tents on Saturday night as the fire approached.

Terrified Britons were among thousands of holidaymakers evacuated from campsites after a wildfire rage through the south of France this weekend.

The blaze, fanned by a strong Mistral wind, razed almost 3,000 acres of woodland on the Mediterranean coast near Marseille.

Around 2,000 campers, including an estimated 300 British tourists - on a campsite at Carry-le-Rouet were moved out of their tents on Saturday night as the fire approached.

Inferno: A firefighter looks on as flames and sparks pour from tinder-dry woodland in the south of France
Inferno: A firefighter looks on as flames and sparks pour from tinder-dry woodland in the south of France

Another 300 were rushed from the Lou Souleil campsite near the town of Carry. Officials said no one was injured during the evacuation.

Thierry Dusquette told La Provence newspaper: 'We could see the orange glow and the smoke above the trees a few miles away.

'They told us to leave as quickly as possible but we didn't need to be told.

'People were frightened and were already trying to get away as fast as possible.'

The south of France attracts up to 250,000 British tourists every summer, including tens of thousands who stay in campsites along the Mediterranean coast.

The blaze began in parched woodland close to oil refineries at L'Etang de Beurre, 18 miles west of Marseille.

Evacuation: A water truck pours water on the blaze near Sausset les Pins. Some 2,000 tourists, many British, were forced to leave campsites on the south coast of France
Evacuation: A water truck pours water on the blaze near Sausset les Pins. Some 2,000 tourists, many British, were forced to leave campsites on the south coast of France


Containment: The blaze started near oil refineries L'Etang de Beurre
Containment: The blaze started near oil refineries L'Etang de Beurre


Hundreds of firefighters and water-bombing aircraft battled the flames as they moved eastwards, destroying vast swaythes of arid vegetation.

Emergency services said by Sunday morning the wind had dropped and the fire was gradually being brought under control.

Colonel Girard Patimo, who headed the operation, said: 'The fire luckily moved through unpopulated areas, and thanks to the wind dropping the fires are well on the way to being under control.'

But the mayor of the village of Sausset, Eric Diard, whose village narrowly escaped the blaze, said: 'The fires are a tragedy for the area, especially in the middle of the tourist season.'

Police have now opened an investigation into the cause of the blaze, which are a common in the south of France in the summer, and many of which are started deliberately by arsonists  The blaze is the latest natural disaster in the region in just over a month.

Investigation: A firefighter plane pours water over smouldering scrubland
Investigation: A firefighter plane pours water over smouldering scrubland


Burnt out: The strong Mistral winds caused the fire to spread rapidly
Burnt out: The strong Mistral winds caused the fire to spread rapidly


In June, the worst flash floods seen in southern France for almost 200 years claimed the lives of 25 people.

Torrential rain caused mud to pour through towns and villages in the Draguignan region that lies inland of the Cote d'Azur.

Floodwaters reached more than six feet in some areas as six months worth of rain fell in as many hours, with people being rescued from rooftops by helicopter crews.

Nearly 100 rescue missions were carried out by boat and more than 2,000 people are still living in emergency accommodation.



Source : dailymail.co.uk