France | Two dead in a major fire on the Côte d’Azur

(Le Luc and Marseille) Fanned all day by a capricious wind, the fire that has devastated the Maures massif and the hinterland of Saint-Tropez (Var) since Monday spread north on Wednesday and is doing it now even more dramatic two confirmed deaths.

Posted on Aug 18, 2021 at 6:41 am Updated at 4:55 pm

Estelle EMONET and Olivier LUCAZEAU Agence France-Presse

However, on Wednesday evening at 10 p.m., the Var’s firefighters were delighted with the complete cessation of winds and the drop in temperatures: “We have to be humble and careful, but we have to take the opportunity to harm this fire,” a commander Florent told Dossetti AFP scalded from the numerous occasions of fire throughout the day.

“We will treat the edges and the glowing points before we resume the fight tomorrow, meter by meter,” explained the representative of SDIS 83, hoping then “the wall that Dash built with a barrier of several kilometers, to use”. of braking products along the A8 ”motorway, this axis that connects Nice and Italy.

After two days with no human casualties, the disaster claimed the first two dead on Wednesday, two charred bodies found in a flame-struck house in the town of Grimaud, in the heart of the Massif des Maures.

With the announcement of these first two deaths, in addition to 24 minor injuries (19 civilians, poisoning victims and seven firefighters), the Prefect of Var Evence Richard only confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that one of the two victims was actually a man. insisted that there was “no certainty” for the second instance.

According to several relatives of a young woman who was missing since Monday evening and who was staying in an accommodation in Grimaud, the second victim would still be this 32-year-old Parisian tourist.

Contacted by AFP on Facebook in the afternoon, a young woman near the disappeared confirmed the death of her boyfriend on the social network on Wednesday evening. This death was also confirmed by his brother in a publication entitled “Farewell Little Sister”.

Draguignan prosecutor Patrice Camberou, contacted by AFP, did not confirm this information as the body has not yet been officially identified: “But this hypothesis is very, very plausible,” he admitted.

Safe in the vineyards

Olivier Carimatrand, 50, another resident of Grimaud in the hamlet of Val de Gilly, believed that his last hour would arrive during the night from Monday to Tuesday, even if his house was one of the few in the district that did not burn down.

“I knew the green vines wouldn’t burn, so we lay down on the ground with my wife, dog and cat on the vines to protect ourselves from the heat waves from the fire,” a- he told AFP.

Only in the middle of the night does he finally see a flashing light, that of the mayor of Grimaud, Alain Benedetto: “He crossed the flames in the vehicle, he saved us, I’ll never forget that.”

Up to 1,200 firefighters were on the ground against the flames on Wednesday before Canadairs, Dash and water bomber helicopters had to stop rotating after dark.

On Wednesday, the firefighters had to deal with new arson attacks on the northern front of the disaster. After the mistral of the first two days, the wind actually turned to the southeast and drove the flames into previously untouched areas. “Tonight it is the municipality of Vidauban near the A8 that is still the hottest point,” confirmed Commander Dossetti.

Back to the campsite

In three days, since the fire broke out on Monday around 5.45 p.m., 6,300 hectares of forest, vines and bushland have been burned in addition to a motorway area on the A57 north of Toulon.

However, some of the 10,000 evacuated tourists were able to return to their campsite on Wednesday evening, a sign of a significant improvement in the situation.

The 1,300 holidaymakers at the PachaCaïd campsite in the village of La Môle, who had fled to a gym in Bormes-les-Mimosas on the coast since Monday evening, were escorted by the gendarmes in convoy to find their tents or caravans. .

However, the 8,700 other evacuees are threatened with a third night in hastily set up reception centers in seven coastal cities.

In the south-east of France, another fire burned in the wine and tourism region of Beaumes-de-Venise (Vaucluse) on Wednesday evening. But it was contained after covering about 250 acres. 400 firefighters were also deployed in Hérault, with two fires set in the direction of Sète and Béziers, which covered more than 250 hectares of scrubland, vineyards and pine forests.

France had so far been relatively spared the fires that devastated thousands of hectares and claimed dozens of victims in several Mediterranean countries, from Turkey to Algeria.

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