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French wildfire near border with Spain is under control after evacuations

A firefighter tackles the blaze near the French border with Spain, August 15, 2023
A firefighter tackles the blaze near the French border with Spain, August 15, 2023 Copyright AFP
Copyright AFP
By Euronews with AFP, AP
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Campers have been allowed to return to their sites after firefighters brought the flames under control

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A wildfire in France that triggered the evacuation of more than 3,000 people from holiday campsites near the Spanish border has been contained but remains dangerous, regional authorities said on Tuesday.

About 450 firefighters backed up by surveillance aircraft were still battling the flames south of the city of Perpignan, they said.

"The fire has been contained," senior regional official Rodrigue Furcy told local radio, but the worst affected area was "under close surveillance and firefighters were still battling the blaze".

With the exception of "350 to 400" people, the holidaymakers had been able to return to their campsites on Tuesday, Furcy said.

The fire broke out on Monday afternoon and swept through 500 hectares near the villages of Saint-Andre, Sorede and the seaside resort of Argeles.

The flames had spread rapidly due to "extremely hot weather, drought and strong winds".

Seventeen firefighters had sustained light injuries and one was admitted to hospital after a fall "but the good news is that there have been no fatalities", Furcy continued.

Thirty houses had been damaged, along with a warehouse and a campsite.

Several roads were closed and the train service from Perpignan to the Spanish border was suspended for several hours.

Bordering on Spain, the Pyrenees-Orientales region has been affected worse than any other French region by a devastating drought.

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