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Wildfires in south of France forces 2500 holiday makers to evacuate

A Canadair firefighting aircraft drops water on a wildfire
A Canadair firefighting aircraft drops water on a wildfire REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Local authorities in southern France have evacuated thousands of campers from a hugely popular camping area after high winds increased the risk from forest fires raging nearby.

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Over 2,500 campers were evacuated from campsites in Argeles-sur-Mer, outside the city of Perpignan close to the Spanish border, just as the holiday season gets underway, the local authorities said.

No-one was hurt and those evacuated are being looked after in three sites including two gymnasiums.

It is not clear what caused the fire that erupted earlier Monday. Two Canadair water bombers and some 30 vehicles are being used to put the fire out. But gusts of some 70 kilometres an hour were complicating the task.

Argeles-sur-Mer boasts that it is the "capital of camping" in the summer and sees its population swell from 10,000 to 150,000 people.

An employee of the Le Dauphin campsite, which can host 1,000 people, said all its clients had been evacuated to zones designated by the fire brigade and there had been no material damage.

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