Wildfires Displace 1,000s in Southern France

August 11, 2016

Wildfires raging through southern France have forced the evacuation of 5,000 people from areas considered in danger.

According to French officials, multiple fires started around the afternoon on Wednesday in the town of Vitrolles, some 30 kilometers (20 miles) north of Marseille, spreading over 2,260 hectares (5,600 acres) of scrubland in the area and destroying dozens of homes on its path.

“The situation is out of control. The fire is extremely powerful, fast, explosive, and continues burning everything in its path,” a statement from emergency services in Vitrolles read.

Two people were reported injured, one of them seriously, as the fire in Vitrolles moved toward Marseille, which is France’s second largest city.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said 1,800 firefighters backed up by firefighting airplanes had been mobilized to tackle the blazes and around 400 police officers were helping to evacuate homes.

“The goal is to contain the fires to avoid them reaching towns, notably Marseille,” Cazeneuve said.

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