Firefighters battle forest blaze, 5000 evacuated

6th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

FREJUS, France, July 6 (AFP) - More than 400 firefighters Wednesday battled the vestiges of a devastating forest fire that forced the evacuation of about 5,000 people from six camping grounds on the French riviera.

FREJUS, France, July 6 (AFP) - More than 400 firefighters Wednesday battled the vestiges of a devastating forest fire that forced the evacuation of about 5,000 people from six camping grounds on the French riviera.

"The fire has been checked but it is not entirely under control," fire chief Stephane Farcy told AFP.

Driven by strong winds, the fire consumed some 650 hectares of dry woodland.

Hundreds of firefighters remained through the night and continued Wednesday to stamp out localized outbreaks of fire, Farcy said, adding that it was feared that forecast strong winds could again whip up the blaze.

Most of those evacuated were able to return Tuesday night, officials said. About 45,000 people were deprived of electricity for several hours because power lines were closed down for security.

Three outbreaks of fire were reported in the region, and a senior government official, Michel Henry, said there was suspicion of arson.

At its height, the fire required the intervention of nine aircraft and two helicopters, which dropped water on the blaze, and 64 vehicles.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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