17.08.2021, 09:12

Hundreds of firefighters tackle wildfire in southern France

Hundreds of firefighters tackle wildfire in southern France

A firefighting helicopter flies above smoke from a wildfire which burns in Peyrolles, France, July 24, 2017. (Photo: Reuters)   

France dispatched hundreds of firefighters to battle a wildfire that broke out in the Var region of southern France, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on Monday.

Much of the Mediterranean region has faced bouts of extremely hot weather in recent weeks but southern France had hitherto escaped any big blazes.

Darmanin said 650 firefighters had been deployed to protect residents in the area. Multiple water-bombing aircraft were also involved in the operation to contain the fire that has already burned several hundred hectares (acres), local authorities said.

"Weather conditions are highly unfavourable," Darmanin said on Twitter.

The fire was burning near the village of Gonfaron, about 50 km (30 miles) west of the Riviera town of Saint Tropez. Locals were told to stay well away from the blaze.

Elsewhere in Europe, two wildfires, fanned by strong winds, raged out of control near Athens on Monday, forcing the evacuation of villages.