Published: Sat, July 29, 2017
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

French PM visits areas worst hit by wildfires

French PM visits areas worst hit by wildfires

The Artigues fire is now said to have stabilised, but is not completely under control, firefighters have said.

One hotspot had been brought under control by the hundreds of firefighters tackling the inferno, but two other areas of this mountainous region were not yet secure enough to permit evacuees to return, said authorities from the Department of Var, where the wildfires were located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, Efe news reported.

More than 12,000 people, including many tourists, who were evacuated due to wildfires in southeast France are today returning to their homes, hotels and guest houses.

Not far west of the yacht-filled marinas of Saint-Tropez resort, 10,000 people were evacuated - 3,000 of them from campsites - as a fast-encroaching fire ripped through the hills of La Lodes les Manures, the Lavabo and Bromes.

CNN reported that at least 12 firefighters were injured and at least 15 police officers have been affected by smoke inhalation since Monday.

Dame Joan Collins was among the many people caught up in the blaze, describing it as "a bit of a nightmare". "We need to find the persons responsible and punish them so that they don't do it again", the mayor said.

In central Portugal on Wednesday, billowing smoke made visibility too poor to use water-dropping aircraft on the region's flaming pine and eucalyptus forests.

One wildfire last month in Portugal killed 64 people.

In Italy, where wildfires have raged for weeks, firefighters responded to 26 requests for water and fire retardant air crops on Tuesday throughout central and southern Italy, including Calabria, Sicily, Sardinia, Lazio and Puglia.

Portugal's peak fire season, which usually starts after July 1, began early this year amid a severe drought.

The blaze at Serta, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) northeast of Lisbon, is believed to have charred more than 25,000 hectares of woodland.

Nearly 1,000 other firefighters are conducting mopping-up operations at 37 other Portuguese woodland blazes Wednesday.

The Coldiretti agriculture lobby said 50 million bees were destroyed along with their hives in fires on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius. Coldiretti said another 20 percent of the bee population is estimated to have become disoriented from the smoke of the fires and died as a result.

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