March 22, 2023

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In France “25,000 hectares have already become smoke zones”, an “unprecedented” advance.

From the Dune du Pilat to the Monts d’Arrée, from the Bouches-du-Rhône to La Hague: once again this summer, the metropolitan area is affected by numerous forest and vegetation fires. At least the fire that destroyed it “25,000 hectares” According to Commander Alexandre Jossard, a spokesman for the Civil Protection and Crisis Management, plants in France since the beginning of summer.

A phenomenon that does not surprise the firefighter, this development was announced by Giec’s forecasters, but it does surprise him. “progress”. President Emmanuel Macron announced his visit to the Gironde this Wednesday. Announcements should be made about the fight against forest fire.

In France “25,000 hectares have gone up in smoke”, while the fire season is far from over

“At this stage, given the fact that many of the fires are still out of control, it is difficult to make an assessment.” Alexandre Jossard says. “However, we can already say that over the entire landscape, since the beginning of summer, forest fires have reached the threshold of 25,000 hectares” The fireman says.

A number “The number of fires recorded in the summer of 2021 is higher than ever”Alexandre Jossard says, while the forest fire risk season is still in its early stages.

Gironde, Bouches-du-Rhône and Brittany are priorities, but other regions are “worried” about fires.

Firefighters are now focused “In the three hot spots of Gironde, Bouches-du-Rhône and Brittany” The speaker says. In the Gironde, 37,000 people have been displaced and more than 20,300 hectares have become smoke zones. In the wildfires in Landras (13,300 ha consumed) and La Teste-de-Buch (7,000 ha).

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in front “The scale of this fire mobilized 2,000 men and women at the Civil Defense base, a substantial and significant aviation resource.” Alexandre Jossard says. Especially the firefighters who came D’Alsace, From Vienna, Two-Sevres, Seine-Maritime and Eure, Due to this, they tried to control the fire at the spot.

The Teste-de-Buch fire is exaggerated in a satellite image of Paris. © Visactu

In Bouches-du-Rhône, The fire started on the Montagnette massif on Thursday 14 July, between Tarascon and Avignon, 1,500 hectares were destroyed. The fire was put out by firefighters on July 15, but started again on Monday, July 18. Barpentane covers an area of ​​about 120 hectares in the municipality, resulting in the evacuation of at least 800 people.. By the end of the day Monday, firefighters said the fire was “under control.”

In Brittany, More than 1,700 hectares of vegetation have been covered in smoke since Monday in the Monts d’Arrée., in the town of Brasparts in Finistère. 517 people were evacuated.

In addition to these three priorities, Commander Alexandre Jossard reveals “concerns” About related fires “Harvest Fire” Especially occurred in Sarthe Or Maine-et-Loire.

Larger fires occurred in 1976 and 2003, but this year’s fire was very quick

Is the current situation exceptional? When asked the question, the fireman reminds us of that “1976 and 2003 were years marked by severe wildfires nationally.”. During these two summers, “More than 80,000 hectares have been destroyed by fire” He mentions. “We hope to stay away from this number.” He tries to convince the commander.

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Most of them “It’s unprecedented this year, Alexandre Jouassard analyzes, These are the recorded temperatures, the precocity of fires in time and their universality in the area. For example, fires have been recorded in many areas that have been spared disasters such as Brittany.

Spain and Portugal on fire

He is one “to enlarge” He adds: It’s not just that we need to look at what’s happening at the national level “We also have to look at the situation in Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece”Four European countries are facing a heat wave and massive fires.

Forest fires continued to burn in Spain on Tuesday, especially in the province of Zamora (northwest), amid a nearly ten-day heat wave. According to regional authorities, nearly 6,000 people had to be evacuated due to the flames that destroyed several thousand hectares of grasslands and forests.

In Portugal, more than 1,400 firefighters continued to battle the blaze on Tuesday morning. Two of the most worrying forest fires are in the north of the country. One of them mobilized nearly 700 firefighters on Tuesday.

IPCC forecast comes earlier than expected

“It doesn’t surprise me what we’re looking at right now.” The fireman says. “Projections and maps of the evolution of fire hazards developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ((IPCC) predicts that due to climate change, more and more severe fires will occur in hitherto avoided areas. Alexandre Jouassard explains. “What a surpriseThe Commander continues, It is the speed at which certain events occur.”.

That’s what the firefighter believes “In recent years, civil defense has taken these projections into account.” and sought to anticipate the dangers, particularly by geographically shifting “pelicondromes,” these supply bases for water bombers that allowed aircraft “To recharge and intervene again”.

Alexandre Jouassard adds: “Other functional responses are also kept”Especially through the training of experts on forest fires. “In fact, we have tried to train specialists, for example in Seine et Marne, to anticipate new risks in this sector, in addition to helping other areas frequently affected by fires” He explains.

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A necessary European response

However, commander Alexandre Jossard believes that the answer should be thought through at the European level by the establishment. “A European civil defense platform can help national air forces”. It is also a question of creating preventive measures.

A fireman pleads for establishment in schools “Japan Day”To improve, the country is considered to be leading in terms of fire prevention “People’s Perceptions of Risk”.