CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

Wednesday, July 26, 2017



10,000 tourists evacuated in the south of France as wildfires rage across Europe 

  • 10,000 have been evacuated after a new wildfire swept through woodland near Bormes-les-Mimosas, France
  • Holidaymakers at one campsite were evacuated in the middle of the night and asked to wait on nearby beach
  • 'Apocalyptic' wildfires across southern Europe have been sparked by series of heatwaves across the continent
  • Yesterday British actress Dame Joan Collins, 84, was among those who fled from her villa in the French Riviera
  • Other European nations including Portugal, Italy, Croatia, Albania, Turkey have also been ravaged by the fires
  • Have you been affected by the fires in southern France? email jay.akbar@mailonline.co.uk



The Luxembourg royal family are among at least 10,000 people to have been evacuated overnight after new wild fires ripped through tourist hot spots in southern France.
Holidaymakers fled from Bormes-les-Mimosas, on the Mediterranean coast, as an inferno thought to have been caused by an arsonist, swept through the area.
Terrifying photos showed flames rising just hundreds of yards away from a campsite where tourists had been sleeping on the sand, having been evacuated in the early hours of the morning.
Meanwhile massive blazes have destroyed thousands of acres of woodland, crops and vineyards across Southern Europe.
Hundreds of firefighters - backed by water bombing planes - have been battling the fires which have ravaged Portugal, Italy, Croatia, Albania and Turkey in recent days.

The Luxembourg royal family are among at least 10,000 people to have been evacuated overnight after new wild fires ripped through tourist hot spots in southern France, including Bormes-les-Mimosas (pictured)
The Luxembourg royal family are among at least 10,000 people to have been evacuated overnight after new wild fires ripped through tourist hot spots in southern France, including Bormes-les-Mimosas (pictured)
Three topless women on inflatable lilos try not to let the fire ruin their day at the beach as they soak in the sun in Lavandou, French Riviera
Three topless women on inflatable lilos try not to let the fire ruin their day at the beach as they soak in the sun in Lavandou, French Riviera
Ruins: The charred remains of burnt caravans at a warehouse in La Londe-les-Maures after fire swept through the area overnight
Ruins: The charred remains of burnt caravans at a warehouse in La Londe-les-Maures after fire swept through the area overnight
At least 10,000 people have been evacuated overnight with many forced to camp out on beaches to escape new wild fires ripping through the tourist hot spot of Bormes-les-Mimosas in southern France
People walk through the streets of Bormes-les-Mimosas, southeastern France, as smoke rises from a fire burning a forest near the seaside town
People walk through the streets of Bormes-les-Mimosas, southeastern France, as smoke rises from a fire burning a forest near the seaside town
Holidaymakers fled to beaches near Bormes-les-Mimosas on the Mediterranean coast
Wildfires burned across southern Europe, including Portugal
Holidaymakers fled to beaches near Bormes-les-Mimosas on the Mediterranean coast (left) while wildfires burned across southern Europe, including Portugal (right)
On the move: Sunbathers were evacuated after heading to the beach this morning in Le Lavandou. They were seen carrying their beach chairs away as black smoke rose up from a fire on a nearby hill
On the move: Sunbathers were evacuated after heading to the beach this morning in Le Lavandou. They were seen carrying their beach chairs away as black smoke rose up from a fire on a nearby hill
'Apocalyptic' wildfires across southern Europe, sparked by a series of heatwaves across the region, come as many Britons prepare to set off on their summer holidays this week
'Apocalyptic' wildfires across southern Europe, sparked by a series of heatwaves across the region, come as many Britons prepare to set off on their summer holidays this week
Hundreds of firefighters - backed by water bombing planes - have been battling the fires which have ravaged Portugal (pictured), Italy, Croatia, Albania and Turkey
Hundreds of firefighters - backed by water bombing planes - have been battling the fires which have ravaged Portugal (pictured), Italy, Croatia, Albania and Turkey
Fires in Turkey have destroyed at least 600 acres of woodland in the Aegean province of Izmir (pictured)
Fires in Turkey have destroyed at least 600 acres of woodland in the Aegean province of Izmir (pictured)
This morning, British author Robert Harris said he had been among thousands evacuated and posted a series of pictures on Twitter showing fires burning through the undergrowth near the seaside town of Bormes-les-Mimosas.
To the east, the deputy mayor of La Croix-Valmer, Rene Carandante, described a landscape of blackened headlands fringed by charred umbrella pines.
'It's a disaster area. There's nothing left,' he said of an area where green forest had once framed the azure waters of the Mediterranean.
The new blaze came a day after France asked for Europe's help to tackle the flames already raging in the tinder dry south, including near the popular resort of Saint-Tropez. 
'Apocalyptic' wildfires across southern Europe, sparked by a series of heatwaves across the continent, come as many Britons prepare to set off on their summer holidays this week.
On Tuesday more than 4,000 firefighters and troops backed by 19 water bombers had already been mobilised to extinguish flames in southern France, which have left swathes of charred earth in their wake.Beachgoers walked off the beach after being told to leave as a fire raged behind them in Bormes-les-Mimosas
Beachgoers walked off the beach after being told to leave as a fire raged behind them in Bormes-les-Mimosas
About 3,000 of those evacuated from the picturesque coastal village of Bormes-les-Mimosas (pictured) were tourists staying in campgrounds
About 3,000 of those evacuated from the picturesque coastal village of Bormes-les-Mimosas (pictured) were tourists staying in campgrounds
British author Robert Harris posted a series of pictures on Twitter showing fires burning through the undergrowth near Bormes-les-Mimosas
Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg
British author Robert Harris posted a series of pictures on Twitter showing fires burning through the undergrowth near Bormes-les-Mimosas. The Luxembourg royal family - Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg (right) - were also in Southeastern France and were evacuated from their property
Devastation: A woman hugs a firefighter near charred remains of vehicles and buildings destroyed by fire in Bormes-les-Mimosas
Devastation: A woman hugs a firefighter near charred remains of vehicles and buildings destroyed by fire in Bormes-les-Mimosas
Flames and smoke fill the sky above a burning hillside as tourists swim on the beach in Bormes-les-Mimosas, in the Var department, France, July 26, 2017
Flames and smoke fill the sky above a burning hillside as tourists swim on the beach in Bormes-les-Mimosas, in the Var department, France, July 26, 2017
People play cards at the beach as a fire burns a forest behind them in Bormes-les-Mimosas, southeastern France
People play cards at the beach as a fire burns a forest behind them in Bormes-les-Mimosas, southeastern France
To the east of Bornes-Les-Mimosas (pictured), the deputy mayor of La Croix-Valmer, Rene Carandante, described a landscape of blackened headlands fringed by charred umbrella pines
To the east of Bornes-Les-Mimosas (pictured), the deputy mayor of La Croix-Valmer, Rene Carandante, described a landscape of blackened headlands fringed by charred umbrella pines
The new blaze came a day after France asked for Europe's help to tackle the flames already raging in the tinder dry south
The new blaze came a day after France asked for Europe's help to tackle the flames already raging in the tinder dry south
A man tries to extinguish a fire burning in Bormes-les-Mimosas wherethousands of people including holidaymakers were evacuated
A man tries to extinguish a fire burning in Bormes-les-Mimosas wherethousands of people including holidaymakers were evacuated
'Apocalyptic' wildfires across southern Europe, including southern France (pictured), were sparked by a series of heatwaves across the continent
'Apocalyptic' wildfires across southern Europe, including southern France (pictured), were sparked by a series of heatwaves across the continent
A palace spokesperson in Luxembourg told Hello Magazine the Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa are stuck in France after being evacuated. 
Also with them in their property in Cabasson were Henri's father Jean and other members of the family including children.
At least 12 firefighters have been injured and 15 police officers affected by smoke inhalation since the fires broke out on Monday, according to the authorities. 
About 3,000 of those evacuated from the picturesque coastal village of Bormes-les-Mimosas were tourists staying in campgrounds, some of whom ended up spending the night in sleeping bags on the beach.
Village mayor Francois Arizzi said between 10,000 and 12,000 people had been moved to public shelters but that some had preferred to sleep in their cars.
Tuesday night's blaze, which started in a caravan storage depot, was the work of arsonists, authorities believe. Other fires have been blamed on discarded cigarettes. 
Forest fires intensifies in south of France near holidaymakers
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Tourists sheltered from the sun under trees after being evacuated from villas, hotels and campsites in fire-hit Bormes-les-Mimosas
Tourists sheltered from the sun under trees after being evacuated from villas, hotels and campsites in fire-hit Bormes-les-Mimosas
An aerial view shows plumes of smoke rising in the air from burning wildfires in the outskirts of Bormes-les-Mimosas
An aerial view shows plumes of smoke rising in the air from burning wildfires in the outskirts of Bormes-les-Mimosas
Dramatic pictures show flames and massive clouds of smoke from an inferno ripping through woodland near the upmarket French resort of Saint-Tropez. This was the scene in the hills of Gigaro in La Croix-Valmer near the glamorous town
Dramatic pictures show flames and massive clouds of smoke from an inferno ripping through woodland near the upmarket French resort of Saint-Tropez. This was the scene in the hills of Gigaro in La Croix-Valmer near the glamorous town
A woman hots her head in her hands as she reacts to the sight of burnt out houses and vehicles following a fire in Bormes-les-Mimosas
A woman hots her head in her hands as she reacts to the sight of burnt out houses and vehicles following a fire in Bormes-les-Mimosas
A man inspects the damage following a fire in Bormes-les-Mimosas, southeastern France as he walks through the wreckage
A man inspects the damage following a fire in Bormes-les-Mimosas, southeastern France as he walks through the wreckage
Camping and caravaning guard company owners try to extinguish a fire still burning in Bormes-les-Mimosas, France
Camping and caravaning guard company owners try to extinguish a fire still burning in Bormes-les-Mimosas, France
People look at the devastated land surrounding their house following a fire in Biguglia on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica
People look at the devastated land surrounding their house following a fire in Biguglia on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica
Holidaymakers at the Camp du Domaine campsite in Bormes-les-Mimosas told of having to flee at 2am as fire approached.
Some 1,000 camping plots were abandoned with one British tourist, Lisa Minot, saying there was 'utter chaos' as people flocked to the site's private beach.
Dramatic footage also showed fires raging further inland, near Peyrolles-en-Provence. British actress Dame Joan Collins has revealed she was among those who fled from her villas in the French Riviera.
And this morning, British author Robert Harris posted a series of pictures on Twitter showing fires burning through the undergrowth near Bormes-les-Mimosas.
The author wrote: '2.50 am. Just evacuated from Cap Benat. Forest fire in southern France near Le Lavandou & Bormes-les-Mimosas. Adds a certain drama to a holiday...'
 In a later tweet he said firefighters were 'battling to save Cap & Gaou Benat'.
A firefighting plane drops fire retardant over a forest near La Londe-les-Maures on the French Riviera this morning
A firefighting plane drops fire retardant over a forest near La Londe-les-Maures on the French Riviera this morning
Wasteland: A burned out vehicle lies abandoned on a forest road in Carros, southern France - one of the worst-hit areas
Wasteland: A burned out vehicle lies abandoned on a forest road in Carros, southern France - one of the worst-hit areas
Holidaymakers fled to beaches near Bormes-les-Mimosas on the Mediterranean coast as a huge blaze swept through the area
Holidaymakers fled to beaches near Bormes-les-Mimosas on the Mediterranean coast as a huge blaze swept through the area
Up to 10,000 people have been evacuated from the region as fires continue to sweep through woodland and forest. Residents are pictured trying to extinguish a fire burning in their buildings in Bormes-les-Mimosa
Up to 10,000 people have been evacuated from the region as fires continue to sweep through woodland and forest. Residents are pictured trying to extinguish a fire burning in their buildings in Bormes-les-Mimosa
People try to extinguish a fire burning in Bormes-les-Mimosas. At least 10,000 people, including thousands of holidaymakers, were evacuated overnight after a new wildfire broke out in southern France
People try to extinguish a fire burning in Bormes-les-Mimosas. At least 10,000 people, including thousands of holidaymakers, were evacuated overnight after a new wildfire broke out in southern France
People gather in a gymnasium in Bormes-les-Mimosas after being evacuated as over 10,000 people, including thousands of holidaymakers, were evacuated from campsites and homes in southern France as firefighters battled the latest in a string of huge blazes along the Mediterranean coast
People gather in a gymnasium in Bormes-les-Mimosas after being evacuated as over 10,000 people, including thousands of holidaymakers, were evacuated from campsites and homes in southern France as firefighters battled the latest in a string of huge blazes along the Mediterranean coast
A woman and her daughter look at a plume of smoke from burning fires that fills the sky in the popular resort in the South of France
A woman and her daughter look at a plume of smoke from burning fires that fills the sky in the popular resort in the South of France
'Brave pompiers of Bormes-les-Mimosas worked all night to save hundreds of homes. 10,000 people evacuated,' he told his Twitter followers.
The blazes on Tuesday had devoured around 4,000 hectares (15 square miles) of land along the Mediterranean coast, in the mountainous interior and on the island of Corsica.
With strong winds and dry brush creating a dangerous mix, the government asked its European Union partners to send two extra fire-fighting planes - a request immediately fulfilled by Italy, according to the EU.
But one union official denounced what he said was a lack of spare parts preventing all the aircraft required from being put into action.
Interior Minister Gerard Collomb announced on Tuesday that France would be adding six more firefighting planes to its fleet during a visit to Corsica. 
A fire in La Croix-Valmer near Saint-Tropez, a resort frequented by the rich and famous, had been contained, local fire chief Philippe Gambe de Vergnes said Tuesday.
As tourists continued to sunbathe on the beaches, hundreds of firefighters tackled a blaze spanning 200 hectares at Giagaro, close to the glamorous holiday destination
The scarred remains of land burnt to a crisp by a forest fire in Ramatuelle, southern France, as an inferno raged out of control
The scarred remains of land burnt to a crisp by a forest fire in Ramatuelle, southern France, as an inferno raged out of control
A firefighter stands in the middle of a road near flames blazing near the village of Sanguinheira, in Macao, central Portugal
A firefighter stands in the middle of a road near flames blazing near the village of Sanguinheira, in Macao, central Portugal
Vast stretches of scorched earth creeps up to the fences of homes in Biguglia, Corsica, as firefighters desperately battle to save buildings from wildfires in the region
Vast stretches of scorched earth creeps up to the fences of homes in Biguglia, Corsica, as firefighters desperately battle to save buildings from wildfires in the region
Evacuated people found refuge on the beach and look at a fire burning the forest in Bormes-les-Mimosas, at sunrise on July 26, 2017
Evacuated people found refuge on the beach and look at a fire burning the forest in Bormes-les-Mimosas, at sunrise on July 26, 2017
Tourists do their best to enjoy their holidays in the French Riviera while huge fires continue to rage in La Croix-Valmer, near Saint-Tropez
Tourists do their best to enjoy their holidays in the French Riviera while huge fires continue to rage in La Croix-Valmer, near Saint-Tropez
A firefighting helicopter drops water over a forest fire in Carros near Nice, southern France, as blazes broke out across the French Riviera
A firefighting helicopter drops water over a forest fire in Carros near Nice, southern France, as blazes broke out across the French Riviera
A firefighter works overtime to put out a forest fire near the small village of Carvoeiro, near Castelo Branco in Portugal
Tourist films raging forest fire in resort town Saint-Tropez
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But the blaze had already consumed 400 hectares of coastal forest in an area dotted with homes, he said. More than 200 people had to be moved from the area.
La Croix-Valmer's deputy mayor Rene Carandante described a desolate landscape of blackened headlands fringed by charred umbrella pines, where green forest had once framed the azure waters of the Mediterranean.
'It's a disaster area. There's nothing left,' he said.
Francois Fouchier, of the local coastal conservation group, told AFP that local wildlife, such as the Hermann's tortoises, would be victims of the fires. 'We are going to find burnt shells.'
Around 50 miles inland, 300 hectares of pines and oaks went up in smoke near the village of Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume.
A local official accused the authorities of failing to regularly remove dry undergrowth, making the forest a fire hazard.
The French island of Corsica, situated midway between France and Italy, was also assessing the damage.
The ‘apocalyptic’ wildfires, sparked by a series of heatwaves across the region, come as many Britons prepare to set off on their summer holidays this week
The 'apocalyptic' wildfires, sparked by a series of heatwaves across the region, come as many Britons prepare to set off on their summer holidays this week
Emergency services last night continued to work around the clock to battle the infernos, which are being fanned by high winds and have consumed nearly 10,000 acres of vegetation
Emergency services last night continued to work around the clock to battle the infernos, which are being fanned by high winds and have consumed nearly 10,000 acres of vegetation
French authorities said eight firemen and 15 police officers have been hurt, although no fatalities have yet been reported
French authorities said eight firemen and 15 police officers have been hurt, although no fatalities have yet been reported
In Portugal firefighters were yesterday continuing the country’s summertime battle against wildfires, which last month claimed the lives of 64 people
In Portugal firefighters were yesterday continuing the country's summertime battle against wildfires, which last month claimed the lives of 64 people
A resident, whose house had at one point been in danger, spoke of 'apocalyptic' scenes.
In the end, disaster was averted after the wind died down, but the blaze engulfed 1,800 hectares of forest and burned several vehicles.
Further east, in Carros, north of Nice, a house, three vehicles and a warehouse went up in flames, according to regional authorities.
Speaking to France Info radio, Mayor Charles Scibetta described waking up to a 'lunar landscape' and said the inhabitants had a lucky escape. 
'All of France is mobilised,' the head of the fire service in southeast France, Colonel Gregory Allione told France Info, adding that extra firefighters had been drafted in from the north.
Thomas Curt, a director at the Irsea institute for research into the environment and agriculture, said a fall-off in farming in southeast France since the 1970s had made it more prone to fires.More than 100 forest fires erupted on Sunday, with 5,000 firefighters deployed across central and northern Portugal
More than 100 forest fires erupted on Sunday, with 5,000 firefighters deployed across central and northern Portugal
Almost 5,000 firefighters supported by water-dropping aircraft are deployed across central and northern areas of Portugal as the country continues its daily summertime battle against wildfires
Almost 5,000 firefighters supported by water-dropping aircraft are deployed across central and northern areas of Portugal as the country continues its daily summertime battle against wildfires
A villager battles in dangerous conditions to put out a forest fire in the village of Brejo Grande, near Castelo Branco, Portugal
A villager battles in dangerous conditions to put out a forest fire in the village of Brejo Grande, near Castelo Branco, Portugal
Firefighters take on raging forest fires near Saint-Tropez
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'Farmland is contracting and the forest is naturally expanding, making the area bushier,' he said.
A proliferation in the numbers of homes, roads and power lines near forests also increased the fire hazard, he added.
In mid-July, a blaze believed to have been ignited by a cigarette butt tossed out of a car ripped through 800 hectares of land near Aix-en-Provence. 
The resorts of Frejus, Sainte-Maxime and Toulon were graded as being at an 'exceptional' risk, with experts warning that continued strong winds this week would see more areas affected.
One fire that erupted late on Monday near the La Croix-Valmer resort and yacht-filled marinas of Saint-Tropez sent clouds of thick black smoke into the sky above the packed beaches.
Flames burned across some 2,000 acres in the region, with two villas destroyed in the hills where Dynasty star Dame Joan Collins was staying just a few miles west of St Tropez. 
The 84-year-old and ten others at her multi-million-pound holiday home, where the actress spends four months of the year, were evacuated late on Monday. 
An aerial photograph shows the fire devastated landscape in Biguglia, on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica
An aerial photograph shows the fire devastated landscape in Biguglia, on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica
A raging fire is sweeping through woodland in the hills of Gigaro in La Croix-Valmer near Saint Tropez
A raging fire is sweeping through woodland in the hills of Gigaro in La Croix-Valmer near Saint Tropez
Holidaymakers watch on as the smoke fills the sky following a forest fire near Seillons, in the Var department in France
Holidaymakers watch on as the smoke fills the sky following a forest fire near Seillons, in the Var department in France
Fires ravage the Corsican maquis in Biguglia, in the region of Bastia. More than 2,000 hectares have burned despite the best efforts of firefighters
Fires ravage the Corsican maquis in Biguglia, in the region of Bastia. More than 2,000 hectares have burned despite the best efforts of firefighters
Too close for comfort: Dramatic video showed forest fires raging close to houses in the Saint-Tropez region overnight
Too close for comfort: Dramatic video showed forest fires raging close to houses in the Saint-Tropez region overnight
Too close for comfort: Dramatic video showed forest fires raging close to houses in the Saint-Tropez region overnight
A house and three vehicles went up in flames in Carros, north of Nice yesterday as firefighters battled to contain the inferno
A house and three vehicles went up in flames in Carros, north of Nice yesterday as firefighters battled to contain the inferno
Photos show the wreckage of a burnt down car following a forest fire in Ramatuelle, near Saint-Tropez in southern France
Photos show the wreckage of a burnt down car following a forest fire in Ramatuelle, near Saint-Tropez in southern France
On the island of Corsica, one fire, made worse by strong winds, has spread across 900 hectares of forest and is reportedly threatening to engulf homes
On the island of Corsica, one fire, made worse by strong winds, has spread across 900 hectares of forest and is reportedly threatening to engulf homes
Actress Joan Collins has been forced to evacuate her villa in the south of France as a huge fire continues to rip through woodland near Saint-Tropez
Actress Joan Collins has been forced to evacuate her villa in the south of France as a huge fire continues to rip through woodland near Saint-Tropez
Actress Joan Collins (left, in 2014 and, right, in 2016)  has been forced to evacuate her villa in the south of France as a huge fire continues to rip through woodland near Saint-Tropez
Water bombers load up off French coast as families enjoy beach day
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Tweeting a picture of the blazing hills yesterday, Dame Joan wrote: 'Luckily we were able to evacuate last night, not easy with 11 people in the house!' 
In a statement, she said: 'All 11 family and friends are safe after abandoning our villa due to the fierce forest fires threatening our home.'
She later claimed the fire had been started by a barbecue, adding: 'All seems ok although fire still burning started by BarBQ.' 
Local authorities said more than 100 people were evacuated and thousands of acres destroyed in and around St Tropez.
Michel Bernier, of France's civil defence forces, added: 'It's a very dangerous day.'
Another fire that scorched at least 2,000 acres in Luberon was believed to be under control yesterday morning, local firefighters said. 
But one of the largest blazes was last night still ripping through swathes of hillside on the island of Corsica off the French coast. 
A French firefighter sitting in a vehicle looks at a tree blocking the path in Ramatuelle, southern France following a forest fire
A French firefighter sitting in a vehicle looks at a tree blocking the path in Ramatuelle, southern France following a forest fire
Pictures show the interior of a vehicle that was destroyed when fire ripped through a forest in Ramatuelle, near Saint-Tropez
Pictures show the interior of a vehicle that was destroyed when fire ripped through a forest in Ramatuelle, near Saint-Tropez
Fires have been raging for days in southern France. An aircraft is pictured swooping low over Castagniers near Nice 
Fires have been raging for days in southern France. An aircraft is pictured swooping low over Castagniers near Nice 
Tourists seemed unconcerned and continued to enjoy the beaches near Saint-Tropez as forest fires swept through nearby woodland
Tourists seemed unconcerned and continued to enjoy the beaches near Saint-Tropez as forest fires swept through nearby woodland
Emergency: Dramatic pictures showed huge forest fires near the exclusive L'Escalet area of Saint Tropez in southern France
Emergency: Dramatic pictures showed huge forest fires near the exclusive L'Escalet area of Saint Tropez in southern France
The fires across southern France have been made worse by strong winds. This was the scene as firefighters tackled a blaze in in the hills of Gigaro in La Croix-Valmer 
The fires across southern France have been made worse by strong winds. This was the scene as firefighters tackled a blaze in in the hills of Gigaro in La Croix-Valmer 
Tourists and residents walk down a road near Saint Tropez as a huge forest fire rages over the ridge of a nearby hill yesterday
Tourists and residents walk down a road near Saint Tropez as a huge forest fire rages over the ridge of a nearby hill yesterday
More than 5,000 acres of forest were engulfed after the fire erupted on Monday night, with residents evacuated from their homes at the edge of the town of Biguglia.
One of the blazes along the French Riviera was thought to have been started by a bolt of lightning. However carelessly discarded cigarettes are often blamed for setting the tinderbox area alight. 
Fires have erupted across much of southern Europe in recent weeks amid extremely high temperatures and dry weather during the peak holiday season. 
More than 2,000 firefighters are battling nine major wildfires in Portugal, where drought conditions, high temperatures and strong winds are fueling the flames.
Almost 1,000 other firefighters are conducting mopping-up operations at 37 other Portuguese woodland blazes on Wednesday.
Ash floated in the air and vast plumes of smoke covered areas of central Portugal, in the area around Serta, about 125 miles northeast of Lisbon. The Civil Protection Agency said 24 water-dropping aircraft were in action.
Serta is close to Pedrogao Grande, where 64 people died in a wildfire last month. No injuries have been reported in recent days as the blazes raced through thick eucalyptus and pine forests.
More than 2,000 firefighters are battling nine major wildfires in Portugal. Pictured: Firemen fight a forest fire at Castelo in Macao, central Portugal
More than 2,000 firefighters are battling nine major wildfires in Portugal. Pictured: Firemen fight a forest fire at Castelo in Macao, central Portugal
Some 1,126 firemen, 358 land vehicles and ten airplanes and helicopters are working to contain the forest fire in Castelo
Some 1,126 firemen, 358 land vehicles and ten airplanes and helicopters are working to contain the forest fire in Castelo
Ash filled in the air and vast plumes of smoke covered areas of central Portugal, in the area around Serta, about 125 miles northeast of Lisbon. Pictured: A water bombing plane fighting the blaze in Castelo
Ash filled in the air and vast plumes of smoke covered areas of central Portugal, in the area around Serta, about 125 miles northeast of Lisbon. Pictured: A water bombing plane fighting the blaze in Castelo
The Civil Protection Agency said 24 water-dropping aircraft were in action in Portugal. Pictured: A firefighter at the scene of a forest fire at Castelo
The Civil Protection Agency said 24 water-dropping aircraft were in action in Portugal. Pictured: A firefighter at the scene of a forest fire at Castelo
One of the worst affected areas is Serta, around 200km north of Lisbon, where hamlets have been evacuated and the A23 shut. Pictured: Santo village in Macao, central Portugal
One of the worst affected areas is Serta, around 200km north of Lisbon, where hamlets have been evacuated and the A23 shut. Pictured: Santo village in Macao, central Portugal
Aerial assault: Planes loaded with water were sent into the skies in a bid to damped the flames from above near Carros, southern France
Aerial assault: Planes loaded with water were sent into the skies in a bid to damped the flames from above near Carros, southern France
Fire fighting aircraft drop water over a fire near Carros, southeastern France on Monday. A number of fires have been causing chaos across the region
Fire fighting aircraft drop water over a fire near Carros, southeastern France on Monday. A number of fires have been causing chaos across the region
People watch smoke rising above a forest as a wildfire burns near La Londe-les-Maures on the French Riviera this morning
People watch smoke rising above a forest as a wildfire burns near La Londe-les-Maures on the French Riviera this morning
Large wildfires are a common occurrence in summer in Portugal, where thousands of firefighters are on duty in the summer months. 
Albania's interior ministry says that some 130 firefighters are battling 18 fire spots around the country.
Spokesman Ardian Bita says fires are blazing in five western and central districts, damaging 15 hectares (37 acres) of pastures, vineyards and dozens of olive trees.
Firefighters, military personnel and local authorities have been fighting about a dozen wildfires every day in Albania since the end of June. No injuries have yet been reported. Authorities have arrested several people accused of starting fires.
Meanwhile fires in Turkey have destroyed at least 600 acres of woodland in the Aegean province of Izmir. 
'Compared to a year ago we have increased public awareness and have also had better communication with the communities and local authorities,' said Bita. 
Wildfires are also burning across swaths of central and southern Italy, aided by the region's drought and high temperatures, but authorities say most have been caused by arson.
Civil protection authorities said they responded Tuesday to 26 requests for water and fire retardant airdrops throughout central and southern Italy, including in Calabria, Sicily, Sardinia, Lazio and Puglia. 
Wildfires in Turkey have destroyed at least 600 acres of woodland in the Aegean province of Izmir (pictured)
Wildfires in Turkey have destroyed at least 600 acres of woodland in the Aegean province of Izmir (pictured)
Smoke rises at the site of a forest fire in the Lutuflar district of Izmir, Turkey, where around 250 acres of forestland has been destroyed by the fire
Smoke rises at the site of a forest fire in the Lutuflar district of Izmir, Turkey, where around 250 acres of forestland has been destroyed by the fire
Smoke rises at the site of a forest fire in the Lutuflar district of Izmir, Turkey, where around 250 acres of forestland has been destroyed by the fire
Fire fighting helicopters, amphibian airplanes and water trucks tried to extinguish the fire in the Lutuflar district of Izmir, Turkey
Fire fighting helicopters, amphibian airplanes and water trucks tried to extinguish the fire in the Lutuflar district of Izmir, Turkey
At least 12 firefighters have been injured and 15 police officers affected by smoke inhalation since the fires broke out on Monday, according to the authorities. This was the scene in Bormes-les-Mimosas
At least 12 firefighters have been injured and 15 police officers affected by smoke inhalation since the fires broke out on Monday, according to the authorities. This was the scene in Bormes-les-Mimosas
Pictures show a huge fire raging a few hundred yards away from yachts in Bormes-les-Mimosas in the Var region in southern France
Pictures show a huge fire raging a few hundred yards away from yachts in Bormes-les-Mimosas in the Var region in southern France
There were no reports of imminent threats to population areas on Wednesday. The fires have been raging for weeks, causing periodic evacuations and devastating large areas of forest and pasture. 
The Coldiretti agriculture lobby says 50 billion 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. 
On Sunday a forest fire in Croatia triggered 34 explosions thought to be mines left over from the war in the 1990s. An earlier blaze had spread to southern Croatia from Montenegro.
Southeast France is experiencing an exceptionally hot, dry summer that have made it especially vulnerable to fires.

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