A fire which since Tuesday has destroyed 2,700 hectares of pinewood and brush around the town of La Motte in the hard-hit Var department was still burning but had been stabilised, officials said.

Two water-dropping planes lent by the Greek government were operating alongside four French planes, and Spanish and Russian aircraft were expected during the day.

Five killed

To the west in the Bouches-du-Rhone department a fire which broke out Wednesday near the town of Salon-de-Provence was brought under control during the night. The fire destroyed 500 hectares of woodland and seriously injured two firemen.
 
Five people were killed in the devastating fires that swept through parts of southern France and the Mediterranean island of Corsica on Monday, following the region's severest drought in a quarter of a century.

Temperatures remained high Thursday and, with forecasters predicting that the Mistral wind would pick up again during the day, emergency workers were on permanent stand-by.