By Vatican News staff writer
Southern France is the latest region around the Mediterranean basin to be ravaged by wildfires this season, amid warnings by climate experts that this seasonal occurrence will become more common due to human-induced global warming.
Hundreds of firefighters backed by water-dumping planes have been battling a blaze fueled by high temperatures and Mediterranean winds, which broke out on Monday evening inland from the coastal city of Toulon.
Thousands of people have been evacuated from the Var region as the fires raced through forests near the French Riviera, consuming some 3500 hectares of forest by Tuesday morning, authorities said.
Devastating wildfires have also swept across southern Europe and North Africa in recent weeks, affecting parts of Greece, Italy, Turkey, Spain, Algeria and Morocco. Efforts are also ongoing to put out fires in Siberia, Russia.
French interior minister Gerald Darmanin said that a large team of firefighters had been mobilized overnight to protect the inhabitants of the area. The minister plans to visit the affected region on Tuesday.
The evacuations have taken place mainly around Saint Tropez and the villages of Le Mole and Grimaud.
Local authorities in Var said that several campsites had to be evacuated and people were asked to avoid congesting the roads around the Gulf of Saint Tropez to allow emergency services to access the area.
Last year, another fire ravaged 1000 hectares in a tourist region west of Marseille. Hundreds of campers and tourists had to be evacuated by boat to a nearby fishing village and then taken to shelters in the town of Martigues.