While the season is in full swing, some 1,200 people, including many tourists staying in campsites on the Mediterranean coast near Marseille (Bouches-du-Rhône), were evacuated Tuesday evening August 4, fleeing a violent fire.

The fire, which broke out in the afternoon in the middle of the forest, had already devastated 800 hectares of vegetation around 10 p.m. He traveled eight kilometers in two hours, said the Departmental Fire and Rescue Service (SDIS) of Bouches-du-Rhône on Twitter. "We expect a tough fight all night long," a spokeswoman for the fire department told AFP, as the fire continued to progress rapidly.

Arrived on site around midnight, the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin greeted on BFMTV the work of the firefighters and deplored "a tragedy for the biodiversity of the Bouches-du-Rhône massifs".

Extremely important means are mobilized to contain this #feudeforet.
Support for the thousand firefighters from all over France who, at the moment, are doing everything to contain it.
To all the inhabitants of the department, follow the instructions of @ Prefet13. https://t.co/F7Y7W6GwsS

- Gérald DARMANIN (@GDarmanin) August 4, 2020

Tourists from several campsites had to be gathered on the beaches of the Blue Coast, west of Marseille, then evacuated by sea, to the fishing port of Carro, before being transported by bus to gymnasiums in Martigues where they will spend the night, firefighters reported.

More than 1,200 firefighters mobilized

An AFP journalist present at La Couronne by the sea saw huge plumes of black smoke and flames along the roadside. Water bombers have succeeded each other in an attempt to extinguish the flames and slow their progress. The roads in this area have been closed to traffic.

More than 1,200 firefighters were still fighting against the flames around midnight in this sector near the coastal towns of Carry-le-Rouet and Sausset-les-Pins, while the wind was not weakening, with squalls of up to 90 km / h. At the height of the intervention, the firefighters were reinforced by very significant air resources: seven Canadairs, two Dash, water bomber helicopters and Pelican civil security planes.

The fire does not threaten the industrial facilities in the Fos-sur-mer area, however, assured AFP Pierre Dartout, the prefect of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, in the early evening.

Access to the Bouches-du-Rhône forest areas prohibited

In the evening, the town hall of Martigues, which proceeded with the evacuation of a district, announced the opening of three centers to welcome people leaving areas threatened by the flames.

An AFP journalist also found, in Sausset-les-Pins, a town bordering Martigues, that several hundred people, tourists and residents, were welcomed in a gymnasium with camp beds and food.

Since the weekend, access to all the forest areas of Bouches-du-Rhône has been prohibited due to the strong winds and high temperatures which increase the risk of fires.

Between 2015 and 2019, 9,300 ha of forest burned on average each year in the departments of the Mediterranean coast.

With AFP

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