French Riviera fires force Brits to sleep on beaches as 12,000 flee raging blaze tearing through South of France

Hundreds of Brits are feared to be among those forced to flee the flames near the glam resort of St-Tropez on France’s Mediterranean coast

Hundreds of Brits are feared to be among those forced to flee the flames near the glam resort of St-Tropez.

Exclusive pictures taken from the scene showed smoke billowing over a beach in Le Lavandou on the Cote d’Azur

Exclusive pictures taken from the scene showed smoke billowing over a beach in Le Lavandou on the Cote d’Azur

Hundreds of Brits are feared to have been caught up in the intense blazes that have torn through the French Riviera and Corsica

Hundreds of Brits are feared to have been caught up in the intense blazes that have torn through the French Riviera and Corsica

French firefighters continued to battle the fires this afternoon as it emerged that Brits had been forced to evacuate their seaside campsites

French firefighters continued to battle the fires this afternoon as it emerged that Brits had been forced to evacuate their seaside campsites

The flames have threatened some of the multi-million pound villas that have made the South of France one of the world’s most exclusive destinations

The flames have threatened some of the multi-million pound villas that have made the South of France one of the world’s most exclusive destinations

The fires are continuing to send thick black smoke over the South of France’s world-famous beaches

The fires are continuing to send thick black smoke over the South of France’s world-famous beaches

Nervous holiday makes watched on as the smoke approached their beach this afternoon

Nervous holiday makes watched on as the smoke approached their beach this afternoon

Hundreds of families continued to use the beaches despite the flames barely a few hundred yards away

Hundreds of families continued to use the beaches despite the flames barely a few hundred yards away

Dozens of young children were pictured with their parents in the shadow of the thick acrid smoke

Dozens of young children were pictured with their parents in the shadow of the thick acrid smoke

The smoke darkened the skies above the holidaymakers

The smoke darkened the skies above the holidaymakers

Aerial shots revealed the extent of the forest fires as they progressed through the French countryside

Aerial shots revealed the extent of the forest fires as they progressed through the French countryside

Holidaymakers were evacuated from beaches as the flames continued to grow closer

Holidaymakers were evacuated from beaches as the flames continued to grow closer

Dozens were pictured dragging their belongings along the sand as they made their way off the beach

Dozens were pictured dragging their belongings along the sand as they made their way off the beach

But some remain unperturbed by the billowing smoke

But some remain unperturbed by the billowing smoke

Even the wildfires were not enough to deter some from taking a dip on their holidays

Even the wildfires were not enough to deter some from taking a dip on their holidays

The size of the smoke clouds continued to grow as the afternoon progressed

The size of the smoke clouds continued to grow as the afternoon progressed

These devoted sun worshippers refused to let the fires get in the way of their tanning time

These devoted sun worshippers refused to let the fires get in the way of their tanning time

Many were forced to pitch up makeshift beds on the beach as they sought sanctuary from the blaze.

Among those caught up is The Sun’s Travel Editor Lisa Minot, on a camping holiday with her family at the Le Camp du Domaine in Bormes-les-Mimosas.

This afternoon she told how Brit holidaymakers were being handed conflicting advice from French officials as they try to handle the situation.

She said: “There’s some chaos here with some people told to take their cars and other told not to.

“People have now been told to sit on a public beach and wait.

“There is an emergency centre where they are giving out water but it’s now full and doesn’t have enough room for the full campsite.”

French campsites where Brits are holidaying evacuated as forest fires blaze along the French Riveria

Flames were pictured ripping through hillside forests this afternoon

Flames were pictured ripping through hillside forests this afternoon

The fires continued to rage this morning on the southern French coast

The fires continued to rage this morning on the southern French coast

Fire planes roared overhead as they continued to battle the flames

Fire planes roared overhead as they continued to battle the flames

But the help came too little too late for some homeowners on the Cote d'Azur

But the help came too little too late for some homeowners on the Cote d'Azur

Earlier, Lisa had told The Sun: “The fires have been going all night, our campsite has its own beach and at two o’clock this morning they evacuated everybody.

“There are about 1,000 pitches in the campsite, they evacuated everyone down to the beach and we have been here ever since.

“There are very strong winds … and this is what is hampering the efforts to fight the fire, because they really cannot predict where the flames are going to go next.”

The scale of the damage proved too much for many locals as daylight broke

The scale of the damage proved too much for many locals as daylight broke

The charred remains of homes and cars were all that was left in many areas

The charred remains of homes and cars were all that was left in many areas

The charred ground surrounded some homes that miraculously appeared to have survived the intense heat

The charred ground surrounded some homes that miraculously appeared to have survived the intense heat

The night before tourists and locals alike had sought sanctuary together on the beaches

The night before tourists and locals alike had sought sanctuary together on the beaches

And daylight this morning revealed no let up in the flames roaring through the hills overlooking the Med

And daylight this morning revealed no let up in the flames roaring through the hills overlooking the Med

Thousands of tourists were forced onto the beaches last night as wildfires tore along the southern French coast

Thousands of tourists were forced onto the beaches last night as wildfires tore along the southern French coast

Many tourists were forced to camp down for the night on the beaches of southern France as they sought sanctuary from the flames

Many tourists were forced to camp down for the night on the beaches of southern France as they sought sanctuary from the flames

Among their number are feared to have been hundreds of Brits on holiday

Among their number are feared to have been hundreds of Brits on holiday

Smoke continues to billow over busy beaches on the south coast

Smoke continues to billow over busy beaches on the south coast

She later added: “The fire is now under control and we’re heading back onto our campsite.

“There’s really quite a sizeable British community here with about 30 per cent of people on our site being British.

“The fires last night reached the fence of our campsite. We have heard that two other campsites on the other side of the road may have been destroyed with a lot of caravans gone.”

She continued: “These campsites have a lot of pine trees for shade. But with pine cones on the floor, they have gone up like a tinder box.”

Some were forced to stay in makeshift shelters on the beach as the flames raged nearby

Some were forced to stay in makeshift shelters on the beach as the flames raged nearby

Tourists could only look on as the flames continued to spread

Tourists could only look on as the flames continued to spread

When the fires were finally put out in certain areas, the ground continued to smoulder following the intense heat

When the fires were finally put out in certain areas, the ground continued to smoulder following the intense heat

The scorched earth extended to the very edge of the sea at some points along the French coast

The scorched earth extended to the very edge of the sea at some points along the French coast

The coastline was overshadowed by the billowing smoke erupting from the flames

The coastline was overshadowed by the billowing smoke erupting from the flames

Rows of sunbeds that would ordinarily be packed with sunbathers lay empty as holidaymakers were evacuated

Rows of sunbeds that would ordinarily be packed with sunbathers lay empty as holidaymakers were evacuated

While beaches emptied out as an orange haze lingered over the coastline

While beaches emptied out as an orange haze lingered over the coastline

Pictures taken exclusively for The Sun by Travel Editor Lisa Minot revealed the effect the fires have had on the usually bustling beaches

Pictures taken exclusively for The Sun by Travel Editor Lisa Minot revealed the effect the fires have had on the usually bustling beaches

Dramatic pictures emerging this afternoon showed the fires as they continued to spread through the forests of the Cote d'Azur

Dramatic pictures emerging this afternoon showed the fires as they continued to spread through the forests of the Cote d'Azur

Homes have been left gutted along the coast of southern France following the wildfires

Homes have been left gutted along the coast of southern France following the wildfires

With property owners left to look on at the ominously close blaze

With property owners left to look on at the ominously close blaze

Some locals attempted to put out the flames themselves

Some locals attempted to put out the flames themselves

She described how thousands of tourists had earlier been moved onto the beach and told not to move.

More than 4,000 French firefighters backed by soldiers have been drafted in to battle the flames, while Italy sent two firefighting planes overnight.

Nineteen fire planes roared overhead as they dumped water on the 10,000 acres of land engulfed by flames.

At least 12 firefighters and 15 police officers have been injured – mainly through smoke inhalation.

Describing the mass evacuation during peak season in the popular holiday haunt, fire chiefs said: “The evacuations, at least 10,000, followed the progression of the fire.

But huge swathes of land were left a charred wasteland after the fires had passed

But huge swathes of land were left a charred wasteland after the fires had passed

From above, fire fighting planes have continued to douse the fires with huge water drops

From above, fire fighting planes have continued to douse the fires with huge water drops

Nineteen planes have joined in the efforts, with two sent in by neighbouring Italy

Nineteen planes have joined in the efforts, with two sent in by neighbouring Italy

Emergency centres have begun to hand out water and supplies to evacuated families

Emergency centres have begun to hand out water and supplies to evacuated families

The iconic marinas of France's Mediterranean coast were darkened by the shadow of the looming fires

The iconic marinas of France's Mediterranean coast were darkened by the shadow of the looming fires

Tourists could only look on as the pristine coastline of the South of France was devoured by raging wildfires

Tourists could only look on as the pristine coastline of the South of France was devoured by raging wildfires

Thousands of firefighters have been drafted in to tackle the inferno

Thousands of firefighters have been drafted in to tackle the inferno

This morning tourists were pictured on the beach looking on at the smoke

This morning tourists were pictured on the beach looking on at the smoke

The plush marinas of the South of France were under threat as flames began to approach across the horizon

The plush marinas of the South of France were under threat as flames began to approach across the horizon

“It’s an area that doubles or triples its population in summer.”

Rene Carandante, the deputy mayor of La Croix-Valmer – one of the areas hit badly by the flames, said: “It’s a disaster area. There’s nothing left.”

Questions began to emerge this afternoon about how the fires had begun.

Mayor of badly-affected Bormes-les-Mimosas, Francois Arizzi, said: “The blaze may have been started by arsonists.

“The investigation will tell us, but I suspect there was malice.”

More than 600 firefighters are battling fired in the area – where many Brits are believed to be on holiday.

The South of France has been ravaged by flames this morning and overnight

The South of France has been ravaged by flames this morning and overnight

Some families braved the beach as the fires burned in the distance

Some families braved the beach as the fires burned in the distance

More than a hundred locals and tourists have been forced to flee in the face of the fire

More than a hundred locals and tourists have been forced to flee in the face of the fire

Families could only look on as the flames got closer to the shoreline

Families could only look on as the flames got closer to the shoreline

Locals and tourists were forced to flee as ferocious wildfires approached some of the French Riviera's plushest mansions

Locals and tourists were forced to flee as ferocious wildfires approached some of the French Riviera's plushest mansions

Hundreds of firefighters are tackling the inferno, like this one on the French island of Corsica

Hundreds of firefighters are tackling the inferno, like this one on the French island of Corsica

The blazes have engulfed vast swathes of the French Riviera

The blazes have engulfed vast swathes of the French Riviera

Some homes have already been destroyed by the fires

Some homes have already been destroyed by the fires

Fire planes have been called in to stave off the fires

Fire planes have been called in to stave off the fires

Film star Joan Collins was amongst those caught up in the fires

Film star Joan Collins was amongst those caught up in the fires

French campsites evacuated as forest fires blaze along the French Riv

Among those evacuated yesterday was British film star Joan Collins.

The 84-year-old tweeted: “Luckily we were able to evacuate last night, not easy with 11 people in the house! We are all ok.

“Thanks everybody for good wishes about our safety in fire, all seems ok although fire still Burning started by BarBQ. (sic)”.

Also evacuated were the Luxembourg royal family from their plush Cabasson property.

But not all were bowed by the wall of flames on the horizon.

Sun-seekers were pictured relaxing on the beach as they vowed to continue their holidays – all while the wildfire burned barely a few hundred yards away and fire planes roared overhead.

Forest fires on the French Riviera force residents to flee their homes

Witness Mirjam vanden Broeke tweeted: “Mega fire close to St. Tropez.

“With a lot of wind at the moment, so things seem pretty bad out there.”

A further 2,000 acres burned in the Var region with two villas destroyed in La Croix Valmer while a huge fire in the neighbouring Luberon region was under control on Tuesday.

On the island of Corsica up to 5,000 acres have been destroyed by a huge blaze.

Fire crews said high winds were helping to fan the flames.

The giant planes can dump huge quantities of water on to the flames in one go

The giant planes can dump huge quantities of water on to the flames in one go

Houses were gutted by the ferocious blaze

Houses were gutted by the ferocious blaze

But the help came too late for some locals, who returned to find their cars scorched beyond recognition

But the help came too late for some locals, who returned to find their cars scorched beyond recognition

Planes and firefighters are now trying to bring the blazes under control

Planes and firefighters are now trying to bring the blazes under control

But they face a daunting task with many hundreds of hectares engulfed by the inferno

But they face a daunting task with many hundreds of hectares engulfed by the inferno

The flames have approached the plush resort of St Tropez

The flames have approached the plush resort of St Tropez

The coastal towns were overcome with the backdrop of thick acrid smoke on the coastal hills

The coastal towns were overcome with the backdrop of thick acrid smoke on the coastal hills

The flames have been fanned by high winds, making the job of calming them all the more difficult for fire crews

The flames have been fanned by high winds, making the job of calming them all the more difficult for fire crews

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Source: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/4100255/south-france-fires-french-riviera-wildfires-force-10000-to-flee-as-flames-approach-tourist-resort-st-tropez-on-the-cote-dazur/

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