Fires in France: several European countries come as reinforcements

Fires in France: several European countries are coming as reinforcements

A fire was raging in the south of Bordeaux, France, on Wednesday.

Several European countries will send reinforcements to help French firefighters who were fighting several fires on Thursday, ravaging forests parched by heat waves and a historic drought. A gigantic fire in the south-west of the country is keeping them on the alert, among other places.

Several fires are raging in France, particularly in Gironde, Jura, Drôme, x27;Aveyron and Lozère. Not to mention countless daily fire starts from north to south.

Faced with these fires, France called for help and several European countries announced the dispatch of reinforcements. Germany, Greece, Poland and, in the next few hours, Romania and Austria: our partners are coming to the aid of France in the face of the fires, rejoiced, in a tweet, President Emmanuel Macron. Thanks to them. European solidarity is at work! he added.

In addition, four planes from the European Union's firefighting fleet have been sent to the country from Greece and Sweden, the Commission said. Poland has announced that it will send 146 firefighters to help in the south from midday on Friday, according to the French presidency. As for Germany, it will send 64 firefighters and 24 vehicles.

On the ground, resources have already been reinforced with more than 1,000 firefighters, nine planes and two water bomber helicopters, announced Wednesday the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, who also suspects an act of arsonists in the South West.

It is precisely in the department of Gironde, in the south-west of the country, that the fire is the most spectacular. About 6,800 hectares have been ravaged since Tuesday, according to a latest report, a month after the monster fire which had already blackened 14,000 hectares.

A total of 10,000 people have were evacuated, including 2,000 in the neighboring Landes department.

A fire also broke out in the town of Saint-Magne, south of Bordeaux.

Anxious to show the mobilization of the government, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne and the Minister of ;Interior traveled to Hostens, in Gironde, on Thursday.

A veil of dark smoke covered part of the sky towards the south-west, where the fires progressed during the night , found AFP journalists.

As the region saw its second fire in a month, several evacuated homes displayed banners with the words thank you for our homes, thank you firefighters, painted on white sheets.

We would believe in California, it's gigantic […] However, there is a culture of the forest fire locally, indicated Rémy Lahay, professional firefighter for 20 years. But there, we are overwhelmed from everywhere.

The drought prevailing in the region and the scorching temperatures, combined with very dry air, still create a very serious risk of fire outbreak, according to the prefecture.

More than 40,000 hectares have burned this year in France, according to the country's government. European satellite data show that the damage would instead extend over 50,000 hectares. This greatly exceeds the annual average of the previous 15 years, as in Spain, when the summer is not over.

And rain is not expected before Sunday in France.

In central Portugal, it's the same desolation. More than 1,500 firefighters were mobilized on Thursday to put out a forest fire that has been ravaging the Serra da Estrela natural park for several days, destroying some 10,000 hectares, according to European data.

One of the most scientifically verified effects of climate change is that heat waves will multiply, lengthen and intensify.

Scientists estimate that in Europe, the death toll from heat stress could double or even triple depending on the extent of global warming over the course of the century.

La The current heat wave in France began on July 31 and is the third of the year, after those of late June and mid-July. To this is added a month of July classified as the driest since March 1961.

Eighteen departments, from the South-West to the tip of Brittany , were on Thursday morning in orange alert, the alert level where residents should be extra vigilant. The upper level, red, has not yet been activated as in mid-July.

It will be between 35 and 39 degrees in the Southwest on Thursday, according to the Météo-France forecaster, with local peaks of 40 degrees Celsius on the coast. The rest of the country will not be spared, with temperatures ranging from 31 to 36 degrees.

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