French Riviera: 12,000 Flee Bushfires as Planes Waterbomb Popular Tourist Coast

"An aerial view shows plumes of smoke on the outskirts of Bormes-les-Mimosas." Credit: Nadine Achoui-Lesage/AP

"An aerial view shows plumes of smoke on the outskirts of Bormes-les-Mimosas." Credit: Nadine Achoui-Lesage/AP

We are wishing for the safety of all those in harm's way in France (as well as Portugal and Italy). 

From the Source:

"Backed by planes dropping water and fire retardant, more than 1,000 firefighters are battling bushfires billowing smoke into the sky over France's southern Cote d'Azur, forcing the evacuation of at least 12,000 people.

The blaze was the latest of several wind-whipped fires ravaging forest and scrubland on the hills and slopes that spill into the Mediterranean Sea.

France's Prime Minister, visiting the area, predicted a grim day ahead.

Large swaths of Mediterranean forest had been left bare and blackened after three days of fires. About 250 trailer homes, a hangar, an atelier and several vehicles were burned in the blazes, but no-one had been injured so far, the prefect of the Var region said."

"In central Portugal on Wednesday, billowing smoke made visibility too poor to use water-dropping aircraft on the region's flaming pine and eucalyptus forests. More than 2,300 firefighters with more than 700 vehicles battled 13 blazes, with flames driven by powerful winds.

In Italy, where wildfires have raged for weeks, firefighters responded to 26 requests for water and fire retardant air crops on Tuesday throughout central and southern Italy, including Calabria, Sicily, Sardinia, Lazio and Puglia.

The Coldiretti agriculture lobby said 50 million bees were destroyed along with their hives in fires on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius. Coldiretti said another 20 per cent of the bee population is estimated to have become disoriented by all the smoke and died as a result."