July 14 means the national celebration of Bastille Day here in France, which means fireworks, firecrackers and risks of fire.
Even without the fireworks, the Estérel Mountains and the Maures Mountains of the French Riviera face the risks of fire during the dry season. As of July 14th, they are now in "Orange Zone" for fire risks.
Every day and based on local weather conditions, the préfecture local government decides if its forested areas face an elevated risk for fires. They're then assigned a Yellow (moderate risk), Orange (high risk), Red (very high risk) and Black (critical level of risk) statuses.
Black zones can't be penetrated by motorized vehicles (aside from authorized fire-fighting ones, of course) and pedestrians alike. On site, they're marked by a red circle on a white background. It's rare that a zone is declared a Back Zone, but it means stay out.
Red zones are also marked by a red circle sign. You can't drive through them while they have this status. And it's highly recommended you do not hike through them or in them either.
When zones are declared Orange comes the gray area, so to speak. It is recommended you restrain from entering the area, but you're not forbidden to do so. The safest course is clearly not to enter. Under these conditions, the weather is usually too hot to hike anyway. Do stick to the coastal path if open!
Yellow zone are fine. Caution is advised, as fire risks are never null around forests, especially after a dry spell.
You can check out the Var's Map of Fire Risks anytime online. Or call the local Office Du Tourisme.
Hiking is a great way to discover a region, and the French Riviera is a perfect example of this. If you're keen on discovering how gorgeous St Tropez is, for example, try its coastal path! By all means, go prepared (see our articles on this), check out weather conditions and fire restrictions and you'll have a great time.