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 September 1, 2003
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Four dead, thousands evacuated in fires that blacken southern France
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Sainte-Maxime, France-AP -- One official in southern France is calling it "a new form of terrorism."

Forest fires are sweeping through the French Riviera, killing at least four people, charring scenic woods, destroying homes and forcing the evacuation of thousands of people.

Firefighters speculate around 30 fires broke out nearly simultaneously yesterday -- and that they were caused by arson. Broadcast reports say molotov cocktails were found in the area.

About 60 homes have been destroyed or damaged. The blazes have ripped through about 21-thousand acres. Some Italian firefighters are heading to the region to back up an estimated 15-hundred French firefighters.

Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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