The fire called “Landiras 2”, which has ravaged the south of the Gironde since Tuesday, is “on hold” and “His progress is now limited”, announced the prefecture and the department’s firefighters, Saturday, August 13, in a press release. Firefighters are now working “to treat the periphery of the fire”.
The balance sheet of this resumption of fire, a month after the two gigantic fires of Landiras and La Teste-de-Buch, is maintained at 7,400 hectares burned.
According to Lieutenant-Colonel Arnaud Mendousse, of the Gironde departmental fire and rescue service, contacted by Agence France-Presse (AFP), “the situation has changed to favourable”. “We remain very vigilant”because “if we no longer see large flames, the fire continues to consume the vegetation and the ground”he added, however.
According to Météo-France forecasts, thunderstorms with gusts of 60 kilometers per hour are expected in the evening in the area. These gusts of wind “could start the fire again”warned Mr. Mendousse, for whom the issue of fire control is “premature”.
The inhabitants of certain sectors of the Landes municipalities of Moustey and Saugnac-et-Muret were authorized, on Friday, to return to their homes, and, on this Saturday classified red by Bison futé, the authorities decided to reopen the A63, which connects Bordeaux to Spain, closed since Wednesday on a portion of 20 kilometers.
Reinforcements from Europe and Polynesia
On the ground, a thousand firefighters are still mobilized, including many reinforcements from several European countries. There are 77 Austrian firefighters, who arrived on Friday evening, who should join the German and Romanian firefighters already deployed on the mission. The last group of 146 Polish firefighters is expected in the early afternoon, bringing the European aid contingent to 361 firefighters. To these human reinforcements are added two Italian Canadair planes and two other Greeks, which began to fight the fire on Friday.
“We are all volunteers here. We are trained, we want to help”confided Tone Neuhalfel, a 36-year-old German firefighter. “We are happy because we know we are helping you, friends”said Greek commander Anastasis Sariouglou, also 36, who is on his first mission to France.
Twenty-one Polynesian fire soldiers are also mobilized. “They arrive from the other side of the world to come and support their comrades who are fighting the flames in Gironde: thank you to our firefighters in Polynesia for their solidarity. Mauruuru! » (“thank you”, in Tahitian), tweeted the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, on Friday.
“Increased risk of fires” with the fireworks of August 15
In France, three times more hectares burned than the annual average for the past ten years. Even the Jura, with its usually more moderate climate, was hit by two fires. In Brittany, a fire destroyed nearly 300 hectares on Friday in the Brocéliande forest, west of Rennes. By late afternoon it was “two-thirds content” according to the prefect of Morbihan, Pascal Bolot. In Ardèche, the fire, which ravaged at least 320 hectares, has been fixed, the department prefecture announced on Friday afternoon.
Faced with this exceptional situation, several large French companies – Carrefour, Orange, EDF, Axa, Auchan and GRDF – have taken measures to facilitate the provision of their volunteer firefighters, responding to the call of the Minister of interior, Gérald Darmanin. On Friday evening, the minister also asked the prefects to“to be particularly vigilant” as for the traditional fireworks on August 15, or even to cancel them due to “increased risk of fires”.
The heat wave should end on Sunday with thunderstorms over most of the territory, accompanied by heavy localized precipitation. But these will be insufficient to remedy the historic drought that the country is going through, warned Météo-France, after a month of July when less than one centimeter of rain fell on average.
Storms “will fall on very dry soils, with fairly significant risks of runoff” which do not allow water to be absorbed and increase the risk of flooding, warned Claire Chanal, forecaster, during a press briefing on Friday.