Hundreds evacuated after blaze at campsite in southern France

The fire is now under control after more than 800 people were evacuated overnight

A view of the emergency services at the campsite
Emergency services were called at around 05:00 and hundreds of residents were evacuated
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More than 800 people have been evacuated after a fire broke out at a campsite in southern France.

The blaze started overnight on Wednesday (August 2) at the Fleurs de Camargue facility in Saint-Laurent-d'Aigouze, near Grau-du-Roi (Gard) and La Grande-Motte (Hérault).

Emergency services were called at around 05:00. In total, 820 people were evacuated, and 15 mobile homes and cars were burned.

However, no one was injured, said lieutenant-colonel Éric Agrinier, head of communications for the department's fire brigade to local news outlet France Bleu Gard Lozère.

The “substantial” fire is now under control, Mr Agrinier said, and there is “no more risk of its spreading to other mobile homes nor to surrounding vegetation”.

He said that the operation had been made more complicated by “the weather conditions, especially a strong wind that was spreading the flames more quickly”.

Firefighters were still on-site on Thursday to "remove all the mobile homes that have been destroyed” including “a lot of very hot, and in some cases incandescent, sheet metal on the ground”, said Mr Agrinier.

The people evacuated, “including many families with children”, the lieutenant colonel said, were housed at a local gymnasium opened by the town’s mairie.

Mayor Thierry Féline said that the town was handing out water, fruit juice and some madeleine cakes to those affected. He added that he was waiting for “advice from firefighters and the gendarmerie” to determine when the campsite could reopen.

One of the campsite residents said: “We were woken up by the noise of an explosion. I thought I was dreaming. When I opened the curtain, I saw sparks and I panicked a bit. I woke up the little one and went to the [campsite] reception.”

Another resident, who had come to stay from Nice with their family, said: “We got told to evacuate to the gymnasium. We didn’t take anything with us. We came as we were, dressed in pyjamas.”

Once the firefighters have secured the site, residents are expected to be able to return later today (August 3).

It is not yet clear what caused the fire. “There is some uncertainty as to the origin of the departure,” Mr Agrinier said. “Was it a mobile home or a vehicle? We don't know at this stage. The investigation will determine that.”

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