… and now farmers are spraying manure over cars
- 10,000 holidaymakers were forced to flee as wildfires tore through bone-dry forests in the southern Var region
- More fires broke out yesterday west of Bordeaux, threatening 1,000 houses, thanks to soaring summer temperatures
- In the north 5,000 migrants are camping at Calais and invading the Channel Tunnel on a nightly basis to reach UK
- An estimated 2,000 people invaded the tunnel last night, said operator Eurotunnel, as two more today hit by trains
- Meanwhile in the east farmers are spraying unsuspecting cars with manure, closing highways in food-price protest
Thousands of British holidaymakers have been caught up in a summer of chaos in France, running the gauntlet of migrants, road blockades and wildfires at campsites.
And as if that wasn’t enough, farmers have now begun spraying manure over cars in protest at falling food prices.
More than 2,000 migrants tried to force their way into the Channel Tunnel overnight, according to operator Eurotunnel, as more than 5,000 people camp out around Calais waiting for an opportunity to enter the UK.
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Chaos in France: Farmers have launched a protest in the east of France, spraying unsuspecting cars with waves of manure and forcing the closure of the A31 highway due to falling food prices
‘It was the biggest incursion effort in the past month and a half,’ said the spokesman for Eurotunnel, which is battling often deadly efforts to smuggle themselves into Britain.
‘All our security personnel, that is nearly 200 people as well as police were called in.’
The migrants tried to enter the site between midnight and 6am.
Tourists faced serious delays throughout much of today following the incursion attempt, with passengers held up for around an hour on the British side and 30 minutes on the French side.
Local authorities were unable to say whether any of the migrants were hurt in the attempt, although a French police source denied that there were as many as 2,000 involved.
Since the beginning of June, eight migrants have died trying to enter the tunnel.
Two migrants are in hospital this evening in Calais after being hit by high-speed trains as they tried to enter Britain through the Channel Tunnel today.
Seven others were saved from drowning at around the same time after falling into a concrete water collection basin near the Tunnel entrance.
Reports of their perilous attempts came as holidaymakers faced travel misery yet again today after the latest migrant chaos triggered huge delays on the Eurotunnel, with estimates putting waiting times at an hour in both directions.
Operation Stack – which saw the closure of Junctions 8 to 11 of the M20 motorway – ended on Sunday, but queues have been extremely slow to start moving again.
But when they finally enter France, things only seem to get worse for Britain’s holidaymakers.
Traffic jams: Holidaymakers have faced hours of motorway queues throughout the summer, before they even make it out of the country due to chaotic migrant activity at Calais
Explosive: Water planes fly over the Var region forest, which firefighters have warned today is at a ‘very severe’ risk of more fires
Blaze: Firefighters brought the flames under control last night and tourists have been returned to their campsites, but the area is still on high alert
Scorching temperatures and summer winds have spread wildfires tearing through the countryside, with the worst hit region being Var, in the south.
Woodland campsites near the popular Riviera seaside resort of Frejus underwent emergency evacuations yesterday, with more than 10,000 tourists fleeing the approaching flames.
Dan Rainford, a 36-year-old Briton, said he was forced to flee the campsite with his wife Louise, children and other family members.
Mr Rainford described the horror of watching the 15-feet-high flames approach with his family.
‘Suddenly we were being told to get out,’ said Mr Rainford, of Stone, Staffordhire.
‘They said “Grab your cars, grab your passports if you’ve got them and just go – forget your clothes”.
‘We were sent to the emergency exit – but it was complete bedlam. There were thousands of people trying to do the same thing.’
Terror: Up to 10,000 holidaymakers – including Britons on their summer holidays – have been evacuated after a huge wildfire swept through forests near campsites in the south of France
Panic: Around 5,500 fled one campsite after 15ft flames suddenly swept through woodland nearby
Blaze: Hundreds of firefighters tackled the inferno today as planes were used to drop water on the fire
Around 3,000 people are also said to have been evacuated from Holiday Green campsite in the town, as well as 1,500 from Pierre Verte.
Darren West, 48, told The Local that he only noticed something was wrong moments before the massive flames suddenly arrived at the Pin de la Lègue site on the outskirts of Frejus.
He said: ‘The speed was the most shocking thing. There was smoke in the air and then almost immediately we saw flames that were 15 feet high right by the main gate of the campsite.
‘There was a gridlock – and that’s when the panic and anxiety kicked in. We saw several caravans on fire as we drove away.’
Mr West described a scene of panic as the park’s 5,500 tourists were rushed out of the campsite, with many leaving behind their belongings as they fled in their cars.
Authorities said that 300 firefighters and 90 vehicles were mobilised to fight yesterday’s blazes, which destroyed 19 hectares of land and 40 mobile homes.
Inferno: The fierce blaze destroyed 30 hectares of trees near Frejus, not far from Cannes in southern France
Mobilised: Water planes and firetrucks were sent out to help fight the fires as they swept through the Var region forest yesterday
Battle: Firefighters douse an area near a campsite following the wildfire near Frejus, not far from Cannes
Charred: Around 400 firefighters contained the wildfires in the Var department of southern France last night
At risk: The wildfires have swept through woodland near Frejus, in the Var department of southern France
All those who were evacuated yesterday returned to their campsites last night after the blazes were brought under control.
Daniel Damia, manager of the Holiday Green site, told MailOnline: ‘Everything is until control, as of 8pm last night. We only have a few mobile homes that were completely burnt but everyone is still on site and everyone has a mobile home.
‘Activities have restarted as of 10am this morning, and everyone is completely safe.’
He added that the campsite will be watching firefighters’ alerts carefully over the coming days to ensure their holidaymakers are safe.
A spokesman for the Pin de la Legue site confirmed that no one at the site was hurt and that everything is back under control this morning.
All those who had been evacuated are back on the site with accommodation, he added.
But firefighters have today warned that more fires are ‘inevitable’, while issuing ‘very severe’ risk warnings for most of the Var region.
Warning: Var region emergency services tweeted a map detailing the areas most at risk of further fires. Six of the region’s nine zones have received warnings of a ‘very severe’ risk
Destroyed: British holidaymakers told of their terror as the flames suddenly engulfed caravans
Spark: It is not clear what started the fire at this stage, but a drought across the region this summer may have played a part
Wreckage: A firefighter stands among the debris after the fire left a scene of devastation near a campsite
The Var firefighters organisation tweeted a map showing the most ‘at risk’ areas, with six of the regions nine zones highlighted in red, for ‘very severe’.
These include the Iles d’Hyeres, Esterel, Maures and Central Var.
The Haut-Var and Sainte-Baume regions both have severe warnings, and the Plateau de Canjuers area has a moderate warning.
President Francois Hollande – who visited Var yesterday – has warned that France must remain vigilant in the face of warnings, as forest fires are most often caused by ‘inadvertence, negligence and stupidity’.
Another fire, which began on Friday to the west of Bordeaux, saw more than 1,000 homes evacuated.
More than 2,000 migrants tried to force their way into the Channel Tunnel overnight, according to operator Eurotunnel, as more than 5,000 people camp out around Calais waiting for an opportunity to enter the UK. Above, migrants try to cross the Channel last week
On the rampage: Farmers block the A31 highway, eastern France, during a demonstration against falling food prices, joining in the summer of complete chaos in France
Flaming: Farmers used piles of flaming tyres and convoys of tractors to block the main highways in the eastern Moselle region
Down in the dumps: Protesting farmers left trailer loads of steaming manure outside supermarkets, which it blames for food-price trouble
Two people have been arrested on suspicion of causing the blaze, which was also brought under control last night.
Several smaller fires broke out yesterday across southern France, with firetrucks and water bombers being mobilised to fight the spread of flames.
Fires in Bandol, Bauduen and Cadiere d’Azur – all in the Var area of the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region – each burned several hectares of land.
Meanwhile in the east of the country, farmers have begun spraying unsuspecting cars with waves of manure in protest at the falling price of food.
Protesters have blocked the main roads in the eastern Moselle region, blaming foreign competition, supermarkets and distributors for their strife.
Up in arms: Farmers unload tires and hay during a protest in front of a Buffalo Grill restaurant in Metz today
On the road: Tractor drivers blocked the main highways in the eastern Moselle region today, calling on President Francois Hollande to protect their livelihoods, as food prices soar across the country