‘Very severe risk’: South of France braces for wild fires

'Very severe risk': South of France braces for wild fires
Smokes from a forest fire are seen in Fabrezan, southern France, on July 24th, 2021. Photo: Idriss Bigou-Gilles / AFP.
Local authorities in the south of France warned on Monday of a "very severe risk" of forest fires, following devastating blazes in Turkey, Greece and Italy over the weekend.

The local préfectures in the Var, Alpes-Maritimes and Bouches-du-Rhône départements in the south of France warned people to stay away from forests on Monday due to the risk of fires caused by the combination of dry and windy weather.

Eight out of nine forests in the Var were closed to the public, with the exception of the Canjuers plateau.

The Alpes-Maritimes département closed off access to the Esterel and Tanneron forests from the towns of Auribeau-sur-Siagne, Mandelieu-la Napoule, Pégomas, Peymeinade, Théoule-sur-Mer, and Le Tignet.

“As a reminder, fires are banned across the whole of the Alpes-Maritimes département from July 1st to September 30th and the greatest care is recommended around forest areas,” the prefecture wrote.

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In the Bouches-du-Rhône, the département on the Côte d’Azur where Marseille is situated, people were ordered to stay away from nine wooded areas.

This included the Calanques, the national park which is home to many popular beaches. “It is still possible to visit the Calanques by boat. However, disembarkation is strictly prohibited,” the park authority tweeted.

The map of “red zones” in the département where access is banned is updated daily here.

At least eight people died due to wildfires in Turkey over the weekend, while Italian firefighters had to put out 800 fires in the space of 24 hours.

A number of forest fires have also taken place in the Var and Hérault départements of France in recent days. On July 24th, a fire devastated 850 hectares of woodland in the Aude département near the Spanish border.


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