Blazing forest fire in south France evacuates thousands as flames head for Marseilles

MARSEILLES, France, Aug. 10 (UPI) — A spreading forest fire in southern France has forced authorities to evacuate as many as 10,000 people, officials said Wednesday.

The fire prompted the evacuations in the town of Vitrolles, located about 15 miles northwest of Marseilles. Fire officials said Wednesday that they are now utilizing efforts to keep the fast-moving flames from that port city, France’s second-largest.

As of Wednesday, officials said three firefighters had been injured battling the blaze — three of them seriously.

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Heavy smoke can be seen for miles, and at one point posed enough danger that officials shut down flight operations at Marseilles’ airport.

Officials said more than 1,800 firefighters and suppression equipment are fighting the pockets of flames caused by the forest fire.

The fire has so far burned more than 5,000 acres, officials said.

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