Hundreds of firefighters from other European countries come to the aid of France

Hundreds of firefighters from other European countries come to the aid of France

< p class="sc-v64krj-0 knjbxw">A contingent of 361 European firefighters came as reinforcements to support their French colleagues in fighting several forest fires.

Firefighters from several European countries were deployed on the ground on Friday to help France fight several fires ravaging forests plagued by heat waves and a historic drought, including a gigantic blaze in the south-west of the country.< /p>

In the area of ​​the worst French forest fire of the moment, near Landiras, in the South-West, 1100 firefighters are fighting a fire day and night. They were supported from dawn, according to the authorities, by German and Romanian firefighters.

The latter form part of the contingent of 361 fire soldiers, including Poles or Austrians, supported by Italian, Greek and Swedish tanker planes, who have come as reinforcements.

In a large area around Hostens, the fire ravaged 7,400 hectares of forest in two days and forced 10,000 people to leave their homes, sometimes for the second time in a month. Already in July, 14,000 hectares had burned in this area.

If the thick smoke dissipated Friday morning, giving way to a blue sky flecked with clouds, the fact remains that the fire is still active and extends over 40 km, according to the sub-prefect of Arcachon Ronan Léaustic. The fire has not evolved, but the weather conditions encourage us to be extremely vigilant.

“The day is likely to be complicated as the temperatures continue to rise, and the hydrometry continues to drop. »

— Ronan Léaustic, sub-prefect of Arcachon

On Friday, temperatures on site should reach 37°C, after 41°C on Thursday.

This photo provided by Gironde region firefighters SDIS 33, shows a plane dropping fire retardant as firefighters tackle a blaze near Saint-Magne, south of Bordeaux, in the south -western France, Thursday August 11, 2022.

The Jura, with its normally more moderate climate, has in turn been affected since Tuesday by two fires which have devoured around 660 hectares of forest.

And fires are still raging in Isère, Ardèche, Drôme… Not to mention countless smaller fires starting every day from north to south.< /p>

A fire even broke out overnight in the Brocéliande forest, a high place in Arthurian legend, destroying 230 hectares of vegetation. Two Swedish water bombers arrived as reinforcements to help fight the blaze, according to local authorities.

“We are all firefighters, and we understand the situation. It must be really hard to fight fires of this duration and of this magnitude.

— Simon Fritz, firefighter arrived from Bonn

Several evacuated homes on site displayed tokens of gratitude: Thank you for our homes or Thank you, the firefighters painted on white sheets.

Firefighters fight a fire near Saint-Magne, south of Bordeaux, in southwestern France.

Faced with this exceptional situation, several large French companies have taken measures to facilitate the release of their volunteer firefighters, in response to the government's call.

It's like California, it's gigantic… yet there is a culture of forest fire locally, said, eyes circled, 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.

In all, more than 40,000 hectares have burned this year in France according to the government, or 50,000 hectares according to European satellite data. In any case, this is several times the annual average of the previous 15 years, as in Spain, while the summer is not over.

And the rain is not expected before Sunday in France.

In central Portugal, the same spectacle of desolation: more than 1,500 firefighters were mobilized on Thursday to overcome the #x27;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 effects of climate change is that heat waves will multiply, lengthen and intensify.

Scientists estimate that in Europe the number deaths related to heat stress could double or even triple, depending on the extent of global warming over the course of the century.

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

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