Residents assess wildfire damage in southern France

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Residents assess the damage caused by blazes in a Bouches-du-Rhone commune in southern France, after the worst fires in almost two decades ravaged the hills around Marseille. Rough Cut – subtitled (no reporter narration).

Residents assess wildfire damage in southern France

ROUGH CUT – SUBTITLED (NO REPORTER NARRATION)

STORY: Residents from the southern French commune of Pennes-Mirabeau on Thursday (August 11) took stock of the damage caused by forest fires that had injured seven people and forced authorities to evacuate thousands from their homes.

The fires, fanned by strong northern winds known as the mistral, ravaged more than 2,000 hectares of the dry, pine-planted hills north of Marseille and were stopped just at the outskirts of France’s second-biggest city Marseille, in the worst fires for that area in almost two decades.

A local newspaper, La Provence, showed pictures of a secondary school in Pennes-Mirabeau destroyed by the flames. More than 20 houses burnt down around the nearby commune of Vitrolles.

Assessing the damage to their property, locals described the strong winds that helped the fires spread.

Observing the remains of his outdoor kitchen, local resident Christian Pasqueletti described his battle to deter the flames.

About 2,500 firefighters still battled the blazes that broke out on Wednesday (August 10), backed up by firefighting airplanes from France and neighboring Italy, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told journalists.

A 50-year old man taking pictures of the fires in Vitrolles, 20 km northwest of Marseille, was being questioned by police, a source close to the investigation told Reuters, but the interior minister said it was too early to say if criminal intent was behind the fires.

Tags : france, Southern, damage, Wildfire, Assess, residents

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