The emergency teams indicated that they had “contained” although not extinguished the conflagration that caused the evacuation of 1,800 residents on Wednesday. The flames continue to spread in a region hit by fires in recent months, where more than 30,000 hectares have already been burned. Meteo France reported that a new heat wave crosses the territory.
More than 3,700 hectares have been burned by fire in southwestern France. Since Monday, September 12, the flames have spread in Saumos, in the Médoc region in Girondo, and by Wednesday they had not yet been controlled.
“We are in a contained fire on its perimeter at the moment. It is not extinguished, it is contained,” Lesparre-Médoc deputy prefect Fabrice Thibier said in a press release on Wednesday night.
On the night and early morning of this Wednesday, a thousand firefighters, 11 planes and dozens of volunteers tried to contain the flames. More than 1,800 inhabitants were evacuated from Saumos and Sainte-Hélène, in the Gironde department, amid temperatures reaching 39°C.
Specialized firefighting aircraft from Canadair were deployed to help put out the flames along with helicopters and a Dash plane. Several of the firefighters and pilots operating this time have already experienced similar work during the hot summer months in the south of the Gallic country.
“Weather conditions remain unfavourable, with the persistence of wind, heat and drought (…) the fire is still active,” the prefect of the Gironde department said in a statement, adding that seven firefighters were slightly injured.
Heat wave and torrential rain
France, like several countries on the Old Continent, has had to face heat waves and drought that have caused multiple forest fires.
The record temperatures in recent months have led national governments to seek strategies to alleviate the hot days and urged several world leaders to give a message of awareness for the care of the environment, in the midst of the climate crisis.
According to data from the European Forest Fire Information System, nearly 65,000 hectares have burned so far this year in France, half of them, about 30,000, in the Gironde department alone.
However, to the problem of fires is added a panorama of quite drastic climate changes. In various regions of the country, the authorities have warned of torrential rains, electrical storms, floods and blizzards, and at least seven departments are under orange surveillance under strict alert from meteorological officials.
“At the beginning of the night, the storms are moving slowly to the East: in some places they could give another 30 to 50 mm in a short time, or even occasionally 70 to 100 mm, with still significant electrical activity. Strong gusts of wind and hail are also possible when these storms pass”, published this Wednesday, September 14, by the French Meteorological Surveillance it’s a statement.
With AP and AFP
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