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Wildfire threatens stud farm in Provence

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Reuters//Loic Le Loet

A wildfire was raging in Provence on Sunday, laying waste to up to 300 hectares of land and threatening a stud farm. Ashes from the blaze were blown into Marseille, 70 kilometres away.


The blaze near the village of Orgon started at 2.30am and shortly afterwards a campsite was evacuated, the 70 campers being placed in a community centre.

At midday the fire was still blazing, despite the mobilisation 10 tanker planes

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and three helicopters, and firefighters reported that the terrain was difficult to reach, with a rocky barrier hampering their efforts. 

Gusts of wind threatened to spread it to farm land, they said, adding that they were particularly anxious to prevent it engulfing a stud farm just a kilometre away from the flames.

Provence has seen relatively few wildfires so far this year, although 35 hectares were razed by fire not far from the site of the present blaze in July.

Two wildfires in the Pyrenees mountains were under control Saturday evening, rescue services announced.

Efforts to fight one, which broke out on Friday near the ski resort of Font-Romeu, were broken off three times during the day because of fog but succeeded in stopping the advance of the flames by the evening.

A couple of 25-year-old campers were detained by police, accused of starting the blaze with a barbecue.

About 10 kilometres away a fire that destroyed 500 hectares of land during the week was put out by rainfall.