Dropping winds raise hopes French Riviera fire can be contained

Le Luc (France) (AFP) –


Dropping winds and cooler temperatures raised hopes Thursday that France's worst summer wildfire could be contained, as firefighters entered a fourth day of battling a blaze that has killed at least two people.

The fire started on Monday evening at a motorway stop in the south of France with flames ripping through the arid Plaine des Maures nature reserve towards the glitzy Riviera resort of Saint-Tropez.

More than 1,000 firefighters have been in action, using helicopters and water-dropping Canadair aircraft, while 10,000 residents and holidaymakers have been evacuated in the area.

"The fire is still not contained, but we're counting on the conditions today to be able to announce it when we are completely sure," said fire chief Loic Lambert.

Asked if more victims were likely, he replied that most of the scorched areas had been checked by firefighters.

The fire is the latest in the Mediterranean region that has also seen major blazes claim lives in Greece, Turkey, Italy and Algeria in recent weeks, with numerous officials blaming climate change.

The region has long faced seasonal wildfires linked to its dry and hot weather in the summer, but climate scientists warn they will become increasingly common because of man-made global warming.