Firefighters held a march in Paris on Tuesday in protest over working conditions, including low staff numbers, poor pay and inadequate protection against violence increasingly directed against them, when unions claimed a turnout of between 7,000 and 10,000.
Huge forest fires in the north of the French Mediterranean island of Corsica this weekend destroyed more than 2,000 hectares (about 5,000 acres) of vegetation, as blazes continue to unfold in southern France amid exceptionally dry conditions. In late July, an estimated 7,500 hectares of countryside were devastated by wildfires, mostly in the Provence region, stretching the fire services to their limit. While President Emmanuel Macron and his prime minister, Edouard Philippe, have heaped praise on the efficiency and courage of France’s firefighters, many of the latter are angry that the country’s fire services are depleted by budget cuts, with insufficient and ageing equipment and a shortfall in their numbers. Elsa Sabado travelled to the Var département, the worst hit by the wildfires, to hear their complaints.
More than 1,500 firefighters tackled blazes which had sprung up in scrubland north of the southern city, injuring three people.
Hundreds of children and adults were evacuated from leisure centres and homes north of Marseille while four fire crew were hurt near Béziers.