Three arrested on suspicion of setting Riviera fires


Some of the fires that devastated large areas of countryside along the southern Riviera last week were, according to police sources, set deliberately.

Two teenagers, one 16 and the other 17, were arrested in possession of matches, lighters and binoculars on Wednesday and were still in custody in Martigues, near Marseille, at the end of the week.

One other person, arrested in relation to a fire in Peynier, near Aix-en-Provence, also remained in custody, while two others had been released. Negligence, such as the careless discarding of cigarette butts, has also been blamed for some of the blazes.

Gusts of wind have kept some of the bigger fires burning, according to Lieutenant-Colonel Michael Bernier, the civil security officer leading the fight against the worst blaze, at Bormes-les-Mimosa, which resulted in 12,000 people being evacuated, hundreds of holidaymakers spending the night on the beach and a total of 7,000 hectares burned overall.

Later in the week, flare-ups were also reported at Carros, near Nice.


Fire on Rock quickly contained