More than 2,500 people, many of them tourists, have been evacuated from camping sites in Argeles-sur-Mer in the south of France, due to sudden forest fires. High winds caused the flames to spread, with local temperatures reaching approximately 31℃; no injuries have been reported at the time of writing, with a spokesperson for the rescue initiative describing it as a precautionary measure.
The area, which is near France’s border with Spain, is the site of over 50 camping grounds – extremely popular with tourists from the UK, in peak season it is referred to as the ‘Capital of Camping’, with as many of 150,000 people travelling there.
It is also very popular with Dutch tourists, and a number of those evacuated were of Dutch nationality. One was quoted by a Dutch news source as saying that ‘it rained ash particles’, while another said that ‘our eyes were bothering us a lot and people had cloths over their mouths’. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said that no Dutch nationals required extra assistance.
Some of those evacuated were sent to local facilities such as gyms, while others were forced to find alternative accommodation themselves.
The cause of the fire is currently unknown, though it seems a fairly safe bet that climate change has something to do with it.