French wildfires: 'The night sky was like Dante's inferno'

Wildfires burn in France Image copyright Catherine Prentis
Image caption Wildfires burn in France overnight

British holidaymakers have described a sky lit up "like Dante's inferno" as wildfires continue to burn in south-eastern France.

More than 10,000 people have been evacuated, according to officials.

Hundreds of firefighters have been tackling the blazes.

But British tourists in the area have told the BBC that a change in the wind direction has seen flames continue to spread. Many are now anxiously waiting for further instructions.

Rob Huckle, 18, is on holiday with his family in Port de Bormes, east of Toulon.

"It's really taking a nasty turn now," he told the BBC.

"It kind of died down in the morning, but the wind has changed direction so [the fire has] blown onto new areas of unburned forest."

Image copyright Rob Huckle
Image caption Rob Huckle, 18, is on holiday with his family

Mr Huckle, who lives close to Cambridge, said the fire was now as big as he had seen it.

From the apartment where he is staying he saw "thousands" of people being evacuated throughout the night.

"The apartment we're in looks out on to Camp du Domaine," he said.

"People were evacuated from there and from the hillside.

"There were thousands of people on the beach."

Among those evacuated from the Camp du Domaine campsite was Lisa Minot, a travel editor at the Sun newspaper.

She told the BBC: "At 01:00 (local time), what we could see was the orange burning on the horizon, and by 02:00 the campsite decided they had to evacuate us.

"The children… were being pulled down onto the beach by their parents.

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Media caption"We're still not out of the woods yet" - Lisa Minot, travel editor of the Sun newspaper

"We have a pitch that is right on the beach so we were there and we took in as many of these families as we could, with very young children.

"They are very tired and very, very upset kids now."

Image caption Chris Wright is on holiday with his family at the Camp du Domaine campsite

Chris Wright is also holidaying in the Camp du Domaine campsite.

"We were asleep last night and there was a knock on the door," he told the BBC.

"A friend said, 'I don't want to worry you, but you might have to pack a bag to evacuate.'

"We couldn't see anything at first, but as we walked to reception we could see the flames.

"There must have been a thousand people on the beach."

John Grant, on holiday near Bormes-les-Mimosas, told the BBC the night sky was lit up "like Dante's inferno".

"It was scary," he said.

"We are regulars to the area and are used to the odd fire but this was certainly larger than anything we had seen previously."

Image copyright Catherine Prentis
Image caption Catherine Prentis told the BBC that people had been instructed to collect valuables and flee
Image copyright Julian Laister
Image caption Holidaymakers in Cavalaire-sur-Mer look on as fires continue to burn

Writing on Instagram on Wednesday, Ms Minot said that some tourists were uncertain as to their next movements.

"[The] fire is getting fierce," she said. "We are packed but don't know what to do."

Catherine Prentis, on holiday with her children, was evacuated from the campsite for a second time on Wednesday.

"They're telling us on the Camp du Domaine website to stay away," she said.

"The last update we had was that the flames were near the gates of the site.

"We don't know what to do. Our campsite is about a mile away from where we are now.

"People here are windsurfing, swimming, having fun - but if you look behind you, there's a cloud of smoke covering the campsite."

She said planes collecting water to fight the fires were "having to dodge the windsurfers".

"They've not really realised the carnage that's going on."

By UGC and Social news team

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