Fire on French Riviera

Taken on Wednesday 3 September, this true-colour picture centres on the town of Cogolin in the Var region of southeastern France. Just outside the image is San Tropez, on the coast due east of Cogolin. Clearly visible towards the upper left-hand corner of the image is the grey-dark burn scarring from the latest blaze.

Some 2,000 firefighters and water-carrying aircraft have been deployed to bring the fire under control since it first began in the thick oak and cork oak trees covering the Maures hills last Sunday. At the height of the fire, several campsites had to be evacuated and roads closed.

So far this week 4,500 hectares of trees and scrubland have been destroyed and on Monday three firemen were killed near the village of Grimaud, just to the right of the lowest charred area of woodland.

Earlier in the week the blaze was being fanned by strong coastal winds but these have calmed in more recent days. This new Riviera fire is the latest in what has been a disastrous summer for French forests.

In July four tourists were killed by another forest fire in the same area. The French Interior Ministry estimates 54,000 hectares of woodland have been destroyed nationwide this year, the worst record for 15 years.

The CHRIS sensor aboard Proba acquired this 18-metre resolution image at 12.46 pm local time on 3 September 2003.


Contact: Stefano Santandrea
European Space Agency

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