A forest fire broke out in southeastern France, destroying more than 400 hectares near urban areas, damaging two houses and forcing the evacuation of a camping site, the fire department and local authorities said Sunday.
"The fire is very violent, very virulent," a local official in Var, Emmanuel Cayron, told AFP from the crisis centre which has been activated. Some 430 hectares had been burned and two homes were ravaged, a spokeswoman for the local prefecture said. 165 people were also evacuated from a camping site. The fire broke out in Hyeres around 10pm Saturday, a day which was considered high risk due to dry weather and strong wind, according to a fire department spokesman. Several roads, as well as a high-voltage power supply, have been cut off at the request of the fire department. About 450 firefighters were battling the flames on Sunday. The fire department has requested reinforcements from neighbouring districts. "The fire is huge, it's impressive. We can see the flames on the ridge line of the hills, and the blue lights of the firefighters," said Daniele, a resident of Hyeres. This summer has seen blazes across southern France, which is experiencing a particularly hot and dry summer.