Wildfires hit campsite in south of France, 500 people evacuated

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Around 500 people had to be evacuated after a large fire broke out Monday afternoon, at the campsite in Occitanie, south west France. No casualties were reported, but two firemen were reported to be suffering from heat stroke. Other fires also occurred in the nearby region.

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According to the latest statement from local firefighters at 8:25pm, the fire is under control, but has burned over 100 hectares of forest. Firefighters said they would keep the area under surveillance throughout the night.

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Several people managed to take videos of the incident, including the Préfet of the town the campgrounds were located in, who posted an update around 3:15pm on social media:

The fire hit the Espiguette campsite, one of the largest in Europe, in the Gard département, destroying more than 60 dwellings in a new part of the site that was due to be opened shortly.

Nevertheless, the flames forced over 500 people to be evacuated. 

The thick plume of smoke was visible for kilometres around. 

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In addition to the fire at the campsite, the town of Ledenon, which is near the campgrounds, also saw about 25 hectares of undergrowth, forest and brushwood go up in smoke.

In the nearby town of Blauzac, an additional 20 hectares burned, according to French newspaper Libération. In total, almost 150 hectares have burned.

Firefighters are warning that with unusually hot temperatures and stronger possibilities for drought, there is a higher chance for forest fires this summer.

Eric Brocardi, the spokesman for the National Federation of Firefighters of France, told Franceinfo that France is currently “a real powder keg,” warning listeners that if people do not pay attention this summer, there will be ‘difficulties.’

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