British tourists have spoken of their terror after a huge wildfire raged across south-eastern France, forcing more than 10,000 residents and holidaymakers to flee homes and campsites overnight.

About 3,000 campers were among those escorted to safety, while the actress Joan Collins, 84, abandoned her house near Saint Tropez yesterday. She said in a tweet that the fire in her area had started from a barbecue.

Diana and John Wardill, a couple from Yorkshire, were also caught up in the blaze, which spread so close to their home in St Tropez that they got in their car and fled.

“It was shocking. It happened so quickly,” Mrs Wardill, 70, told the Yorkshire Post.

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