New forest fire rages in south-eastern France

MARSEILLE (AFP) - A forest fire broke out late Saturday (Sept 2) in south-eastern France, tearing through hundreds of hectares near urban areas and destroying one home, the fire department and local authorities said.

"The fire is very violent, very virulent," a local official in Var, Emmanuel Cayron, told AFP from the crisis centre which has been activated.

By the middle of the night, some 200 hectares had been burned, local officials said, and one house had been destroyed by the fire.

The fire broke out in Hyeres around 10pm Saturday (4am Sunday Singapore time), a day which was considered high risk due to dry weather and strong wind, according to a fire department spokesman.

A camp site was evacuated as a precaution in La Londe-les-Maures and local authorities provided rooms for the displaced, with more than 100 people being given accommodation due to the fire.

Several roads, as well as a high-voltage power supply, have been cut off at the request of the fire department.

The fire department has deployed some 150 firefighters in the area and has requested reinforcements from neighbouring districts.

"The fire is huge, it's impressive. We can see the flames on the ridge line of the hills, and the blue lights of the firefighters," said Daniele, a resident of Hyeres.

This summer has seen blazes across southern France, which is experiencing a particularly hot and dry summer.