French forest fire `under control` after wide damage

A forest fire near Marseille has forced the evacuation of some 2,000 campers.

Carry-le-Roue: A forest fire near the south-eastern French city of Marseille ravaged hundreds of acres of woodland on Sunday and forced the evacuation of some 2,000 campers on a summer break.

The fire, which broke out on Saturday, was "however contained and under control," said Luc Jorda, head of the fire and emergency services in the Bouches-du-Rhone department.

Jorda said a car which had caught fire sparked the inferno.

Firefighters said about 1,600 acres of forest had been destroyed. A camp site at Carry-le-Rouet,a tourist town about 30 kilometres west of Marseille, was evacuated as a precautionary measure.

Herve Artero, who is in charge of the camp site, said about 200 people had been lodged in a gymnasium and added that about 10 percent of the estimated 2,000 campers were foreigners.

More than 600 firefighters, 75 fire trucks and waterbombing planes and helicopters are being used to fight the first forest fire of the season in southern France.