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Homes evacuated as fire ravages 10 hectares in forest near Nice

The fire saw 54 people evacuated early Saturday morning and a homeless man arrested suspected of starting the fire to keep warm

A fire in the Colomars hills saw 54 people evacuated and 10 hectares destroyed Pic: jean schweitzer / Shutterstock

A fire started at 3:00 Saturday morning in the Colomars hills near Nice in southern France saw 54 people evacuated and 10 hectares of forest destroyed.

Residents were evacuated around 4:00, with some taking refuge in a tennis club. One man told TV channel FranceTVInfo that he tried to stay, but “the police did not want [me to], they started evacuating everyone”. 

Read more: Warm weather, drought and fires: why it may feel like summer in France

According to local radio network France Bleu, over 100 firefighters were called in to tackle the blaze in the Alpes-Maritimes department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, as was a water bomber helicopter. As a result, dozens of houses were saved and by midday, the fire was almost under control with firefighters saying almost all the smoke had gone.

The evacuated residents were able to return to their homes during the day and the mayor of Nice and president of the Nice metropole Christian Estrosi thanked the fire and police departments for their work.

The fire was under control by the evening, after firefighters checked the forest to ensure it could not start up again. However, weather conditions are not great in the area with Captain Patrice Alberti, commander of the emergency services saying “we have not had a lot of rain and the vegetation is suffering”. 

The police arrested a homeless man suspected of starting the fire to keep warm. 

Related Articles:

Forest fires in France: Cameras to be used more to prevent blazes

Homeowners in France urged to help ease drought and forest fires

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