Wildfires force French Riviera evacuations

French authorities ordered the evacuation of up to 12,000 people around a picturesque hilltop town in the southern Côte d’Azur region as fires hopscotched around the Mediterranean coast for a third day Wednesday.

A raging wildfire began late Tuesday in the dry Mediterranean forests around La Londe-les-Maures before being pushed by the mistral winds to Bormes, a tourist magnet with houses clustered on a hill surrounded by dense forests of scrub and trees.

The local Var Matin newspaper reported that 12,000 people were forced to take refuge in gymnasiums and other places, including thousands of campers. It said some people sought safety on local beaches. (AP)

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Wildfires force French Riviera evacuations

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. (Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters)

Wildfires force French Riviera evacuations

A plume of smoke from burning fires fills the sky in Bormes-les-Mimosas, in the Var department, France, July 26, 2017. (Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters)

Wildfires force French Riviera evacuations

A woman walks past charred debris of vehicles that were destroyed by fire in a parking lot for camping cars in Bormes-les-Mimosas, in the Var department, France, July 26, 2017, after firefighters evacuated thousands of campers and local residents when a wildfire broke out on France’s tourist-thronged Riviera coast overnight. (Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters)

Wildfires force French Riviera evacuations

A woman hugs a fireman near charred debris of vehicles that were destroyed by fire in a parking lot for camping cars in Bormes-les-Mimosas, in the Var department, France, July 26, 2017, after firefighters evacuated thousands of campers and local residents when a wildfire broke out on France’s tourist-thronged Riviera coast overnight. (Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters)

Wildfires force French Riviera evacuations

People watch as smoke billows from a fire, in Bormes-les-Mimosas, France July 26, 2017 in this picture obtained from social media. (Anna Tomlinson/Reuters)

Wildfires force French Riviera evacuations

A forest fire in the Luberon has ravaged more than 800 hectares between Pertuis and Mirabeau in the Vaucluse, July 25, 2017. (Lilian Auffret/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock)

Wildfires force French Riviera evacuations

People walk past charred debris of vehicles that were destroyed by fire in a parking lot for camping cars in Bormes-les-Mimosas, in the Var department, France, July 26, 2017, after firefighters evacuated thousands of campers and local residents when a wildfire broke out on France’s tourist-thronged Riviera coast overnight. (Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters)

Wildfires force French Riviera evacuations

Smoke fills the sky as a plane drops flame retardant on a burning hillside in Bormes-les-Mimosas, in the Var department, France, July 26, 2017. (Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters)

Wildfires force French Riviera evacuations

Men spray water on charred debris of vehicles that were destroyed by fire in a parking lot for camping cars in Bormes-les-Mimosas, in the Var department, France, July 26, 2017, after firefighters evacuated thousands of campers and local residents when a wildfire broke out on France’s tourist-thronged Riviera coast overnight. (Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters)

Wildfires force French Riviera evacuations

People watch as smoke billows from a fire, in Bormes-les-Mimosas, France July 26, 2017 in this picture obtained from social media. (Anna Tomlinson/Reuters)

Wildfires force French Riviera evacuations

A fireman walks past charred debris of vehicles that were destroyed by fire in a parking lot for camping cars in Bormes-les-Mimosas, in the Var department, France, July 26, 2017, after firefighters evacuated thousands of campers and local residents when a wildfire broke out on France’s tourist-thronged Riviera coast overnight. (Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters)

Wildfires force French Riviera evacuations

Flames and smoke are seen near a fireman who works in Bormes-les-Mimosas, in the Var department, France, July 26, 2017. (Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters)

Wildfires force French Riviera evacuations

Smoke fills the sky above a burning hillside in Bormes-les-Mimosas, in the Var department, France, July 26, 2017. (Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters)

Wildfires force French Riviera evacuations

Smoke fills the sky above a burning hillside as tourists relax on the beach in Bormes-les-Mimosas, in the Var department, France, July 26, 2017. (Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters)

Wildfires force French Riviera evacuations

A forest fire rages on a hillside above the village of Ortale in Corsica, France, July 24, 2017. Hundreds of firefighters are battling blazes fanned by high winds in more than a dozen zones in the Riviera region of southern France. (Raphael Poletti/AP)

Wildfires force French Riviera evacuations

An aerial view shows plumes of smoke rising in the air from burning wildfires in the outskirts of Bormes-les-Mimosas, French Riviera, July 26, 2017. (Nadine Achoui-Lesage/AP)

Wildfires force French Riviera evacuations

Firefighters work to stop a forest fire on a hillside near the village of Ortale, Corsica island, France, July 24, 2017. (Raphael Poletti/AP)

Wildfires force French Riviera evacuations

A woman and her daughter walk near leisure boats in a port as a plume of smoke from burning fires fills the sky in Bormes-les-Mimosas, in the Var department, France, July 26, 2017. (Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters)

Wildfires force French Riviera evacuations

The fire that burned 500 to 600 hectares of forest near Artigues in the Var, threatened homes on Tuesday. The firefighters stopped the progression of the fire that threatened homes in Seillons Source d’Argens on July 25, 2017. (Lilian Auffret/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock)

Wildfires force French Riviera evacuations

A woman stands near charred debris of vehicles that were destroyed by fire in a parking lot for camping cars in Bormes-les-Mimosas, in the Var department, France, July 26, 2017, after firefighters evacuated thousands of campers and local residents when a wildfire broke out on France’s tourist-thronged Riviera coast overnight. (Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters)

Wildfires force French Riviera evacuations

The fire that burned 500 to 600 hectares of forest near Artigues in the Var, threatened homes on Tuesday. The firefighters stopped the progression of the fire that threatened homes in Seillons Source d’Argens, July 25, 2017. (Lilian Auffret/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock)

Wildfires force French Riviera evacuations

A forest fire in the Luberon has ravaged more than 800 hectares between Pertuis and Mirabeau in the Vaucluse, July 24, 2017. (Lilian Auffret/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock)

Wildfires force French Riviera evacuations

Firefighters spray water as they try to douse a fire near the village of Biguglia, Corsica island, France, July 25, 2017. Hundreds of firefighters are battling blazes fanned by high winds in more than a dozen zones in the Riviera region of southern France. (Raphael Poletti/AP)

Wildfires force French Riviera evacuations

The fire that burned 500 to 600 hectares of forest near Artigues in the Var, threatened homes on Tuesday. The firefighters stopped the progression of the fire that threatened homes in Seillons Source d’Argens, July 25, 2017. (Lilian Auffret/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock)

Wildfires force French Riviera evacuations

A forest fire in the Luberon has ravaged more than 800 hectares between Pertuis and Mirabeau in the Vaucluse, July 24, 2017. (Lilian Auffret/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock)

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