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France Wildfires

Thousands were evacuated as wildfires rage in the French Riviera



Thousands of people were evacuated early Wednesday as wildfires raged in parts of southern France.

Approximately 3,000 campers were among the 10,000 evacuated from La Londe and nearby Bormes-les-Mimosas and Le Lavandou. Many of those evacuated took refuge in gymnasiums and local beaches, the local Var Martin newspaper reported.

The raging wildfire began late Tuesday in the dry Mediterranean forests around La Londe-Les-Maures. Approximately 540 firefighters were sent into the area to get the flames under control, but Mistral winds fanned the flames, pushing the wildfire to Bormes-les-Mimosas.

Nearly 600 firefighters have been deployed in an attempt to contain the flames, which have spread to 3,210 acres, Col. Eric Martin of the Var firefighting unit said on BFM-TV. Four tracker planes and a fire-fighting aircraft were also sent in to fight the flames from above.

Summer wildfires are not new to Europe and are often caused by humans then spurred by high temperatures, winds and drought. Currently, Italy and Portugal are also battling large wildfires.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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