France wildfire prompts at least 10,000 to evacuate

MARSEILLE, July 26 (Reuters) - Firefighters evacuated thousands of campers and local residents after a wildfire broke out on France's tourist-thronged Riviera coast overnight.

The blaze was the latest of several wind-whipped fires that are ravaging forest and scrubland on the hills and slopes that spill into the Mediterranean sea between the Marseilles and the city of Nice in the southeastern corner of France.

Not far west of the yacht-filled marinas of Saint-Tropez resort, 10,000 people were evacuated - 3,000 of them from campsites - as a fast-encroaching fire ripped through the hills of La Lodes les Manures, the Lavabo and Bromes.

Click through to see images of the horrific fire:

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Massive wildfire forces thousands to evacuate French Riviera
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Massive wildfire forces thousands to evacuate French Riviera
Tourists stand on the beach and watch as smoke fills the sky above a burning hillside in Bormes-les-Mimosas, in the Var department, France, July 26, 2017. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier
Tourists evacuate the beach as smoke fills the sky above a burning hillside in Bormes-les-Mimosas, in the Var department, France, July 26, 2017. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier
People leave the beach with their belongings as a fire burns a forest behind them in Bormes-les-Mimosas, southeastern France, on July 26, 2017. At least 10,000 people, including thousands of holidaymakers, were evacuated overnight after a new wildfire broke out in southern France, which was already battling massive blazes, authorities said on July 26. / AFP PHOTO / Anne-Christine POUJOULAT (Photo credit should read ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images)
Flames and smoke are seen during a burning hillside in Bormes-les-Mimosas, in the Var department, France, July 26, 2017. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier
Tourists stand on the beach and watch as smoke fills the sky above a burning hillside in Bormes-les-Mimosas, in the Var department, France, July 26, 2017. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier
People leave the beach with their belongings as a fire burns a forest behind them in Bormes-les-Mimosas, southeastern France, on July 26, 2017. At least 10,000 people, including thousands of holidaymakers, were evacuated overnight after a new wildfire broke out in southern France, which was already battling massive blazes, authorities said on July 26. / AFP PHOTO / Anne-Christine POUJOULAT (Photo credit should read ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images)
Flames and smoke fill the sky above a burning hillside as tourists swim on the beach in Bormes-les-Mimosas, in the Var department, France, July 26, 2017. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier
Tourists evacuate the beach as smoke fills the sky above a burning hillside in Bormes-les-Mimosas, in the Var department, France, July 26, 2017. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Evacuated people take refuge on the beach and look at a fire burning the forest in Bormes-les-Mimosas, southern France, at sunrise on July 26, 2017. Over 10,000 people, including thousands of holidaymakers, were evacuated from campsites and homes in southern France as firefighters on July 26, 2017 battled the latest in a string of huge blazes along the Mediterranean coast. / AFP PHOTO / Marion LEFLOUR (Photo credit should read MARION LEFLOUR/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken on July 26, 2017 shows a fire burning the forest in Bormes-les-Mimosas, southeastern France. Over 10,000 people, including thousands of holidaymakers, were evacuated from campsites and homes in southern France as firefighters battled the latest in a string of huge blazes along the Mediterranean coast. / AFP PHOTO / Anne-Christine POUJOULAT (Photo credit should read ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images)
People stand amid debris following a fire in Bormes-les-Mimosas, southeastern France, on July 26, 2017. At least 10,000 people, including thousands of holidaymakers, were evacuated overnight after a new wildfire broke out in southern France, which was already battling massive blazes, authorities said on July 26. / AFP PHOTO / Anne-Christine POUJOULAT (Photo credit should read ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images)
A fire fighting Canadair aircraft drops fire retardant over a fire near Bormes-les-Mimosas, southeastern France, on July 26, 2017. At least 10,000 people, including thousands of holidaymakers, were evacuated overnight after a new wildfire broke out in southern France, which was already battling massive blazes, authorities said on July 26. / AFP PHOTO / Anne-Christine POUJOULAT (Photo credit should read ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images)
People stand amid debris inspecting the damage following a fire in Bormes-les-Mimosas, southeastern France, on July 26, 2017. At least 10,000 people, including thousands of holidaymakers, were evacuated overnight after a new wildfire broke out in southern France, which was already battling massive blazes, authorities said on July 26. / AFP PHOTO / Anne-Christine POUJOULAT (Photo credit should read ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images)
People stand amid debris inspecting the damage following a fire in Bormes-les-Mimosas, southeastern France, on July 26, 2017. At least 10,000 people, including thousands of holidaymakers, were evacuated overnight after a new wildfire broke out in southern France, which was already battling massive blazes, authorities said on July 26. / AFP PHOTO / Anne-Christine POUJOULAT (Photo credit should read ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images)
People stand amid debris inspecting the damage following a fire in Bormes-les-Mimosas, southeastern France, on July 26, 2017. At least 10,000 people, including thousands of holidaymakers, were evacuated overnight after a new wildfire broke out in southern France, which was already battling massive blazes, authorities said on July 26. / AFP PHOTO / Anne-Christine POUJOULAT (Photo credit should read ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken at sunrise on July 26, 2017 shows a fire burning the forest by a tennis court in Bormes-les-Mimosas, southern France. Over 10,000 people, including thousands of holidaymakers, were evacuated from campsites and homes in southern France as firefighters on July 26, 2017 battled the latest in a string of huge blazes along the Mediterranean coast. / AFP PHOTO / Marion LEFLOUR (Photo credit should read MARION LEFLOUR/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman inspects the damage following a fire in Bormes-les-Mimosas, southeastern France, on July 26, 2017. At least 10,000 people, including thousands of holidaymakers, were evacuated overnight after a new wildfire broke out in southern France, which was already battling massive blazes, authorities said on July 26. / AFP PHOTO / Anne-Christine POUJOULAT (Photo credit should read ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken on July 26, 2017 shows a fire burning the forest in Bormes-les-Mimosas, southeastern France. Over 10,000 people, including thousands of holidaymakers, were evacuated from campsites and homes in southern France as firefighters battled the latest in a string of huge blazes along the Mediterranean coast. / AFP PHOTO / Anne-Christine POUJOULAT (Photo credit should read ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images)
A man and a firefighter inspect the damage following a fire in Bormes-les-Mimosas, southeastern France, on July 26, 2017. At least 10,000 people, including thousands of holidaymakers, were evacuated overnight after a new wildfire broke out in southern France, which was already battling massive blazes, authorities said on July 26. / AFP PHOTO / Anne-Christine POUJOULAT (Photo credit should read ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images)
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"A fast-spreading fire broke out at 22:50 (2050 GMT), burning up about 800 hectares of land," the local government prefect's office said in a statement.

Hundreds of firefighters fought the blaze with planes and helicopters dropping tonnes of water on the tinder box hills where fires regularly break out in summer time, often as a result of a carelessly discarded cigarette butt.

Thousands of hectares of land have been devastated by flames since the start of the week, although Tuesday night's evacuation was far larger than other more minor ones where dozens of people and horses were moved to safety from fast-encroaching infernos.

High winds risked whipping up more fires, said the prefect's office of the Vary region, where most of the blazes are located.

So far there have been no deaths reported in the summertime wildfires, unlike in other countries such as Portugal where they have killed dozens. (Reporting by Marc Leras, Writing by Brian Love; Editing by Andrew Callus)

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