Forest fire in southern France triggers evacuations

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Martigues (France) (AFP)

A forest fire on Tuesday devastated 800 hectares of vegetation near the city of Marseille in southern France, forcing the evacuation of more than 200 people, officials said.

There have been no injuries to date from the fire that broke out west of Marseille, as 1,200 firefighters and water bombers have been deployed to fight the flames.

Some 225 people, mostly tourists and campers, were evacuated by boat to a nearby fishing village and then taken by bus to makeshift shelters in the town of Martigues.

“We are preparing for a difficult fight throughout the night,” said a spokesperson for the Bouches du Rhône fire department.

The fire broke out in the afternoon, sending out plumes of black smoke. He traveled eight kilometers in two hours, fueled by high winds, firefighters said.

Seven water-spill planes and a number of helicopters and other aircraft have been deployed to support 1,200 firefighters, officials said.

“We were in Martigues for shopping but now we can no longer enter our home in La Couronne. All the roads have been cut and fires are burning everywhere, ”said Mylène Greffeuille.

“We are very worried because my father is old and he is La Couronne,” she said near the fire.

Part of a motorway from Marseille to Martigues has been closed.

cf-iw-cs-jp / ach / dw

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