It is not only in the United States that firefighters have to deal with serious fires. In Gironde, south west of France, the situation is catastrophic since August 9, the fires having resumed with vigor: “We are confronted with a front much more violent and fast than in July”, warn the firemen. All the civil society is organized to face it: explanations.
Fire resumes in Landiras
The fire that “had been put to sleep” since mid-July Landiras in Gironde reopened Tuesday afternoon, devouring more than 6,000 hectares of forest on its way. The authorities are worried about its future evolution because of the bad weather conditions which do not facilitate the work of the firemen. The firemen had to face more than forty departures of flames in the morning of Tuesday, in Gironde but remain nevertheless positive since these forty departures of fire were contained and controlled.
The Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin announced this Wednesday afternoon a reinforcement of the device with 1,000 firefighters now assigned to the fight against the flames. They also have air support.
Closure of the A63 freeway
The A63 freeway linking Bordeaux to Bayonne is seriously threatened by the violent fire. It is a wall of smoke which rises right in front of the motorists, at the level of the basin of Arcachon. The situation is so dangerous that the authorities announced on Wednesday morning, during a press briefing attended by the command post of Landiras (Gironde), the closure of the motorway axis to all traffic.
The A63 freeway is therefore closed in both directions, between the A660 interchange (Arcachon) and exit 9 (Saint-Geours-de-Maremne). The bypass is completed by the A65. This is a decision that could have serious consequences, especially during the summer period and as the weekend of August 15 approaches.
Evacuation of local residents: 8000 people put in safety
The situation is quite crucial this Wednesday in this region of the south of Gironde: the fire extends until the north of Landes. The fire which was “buried” until mid-July, in the region of Landiras and which had already burned 14,000 hectares of forest, has resumed with unprecedented vigor since Tuesday afternoon. 6,000 hectares of forest have been swept away.
While the flames continue to grow, more than 8,000 people have been evacuated from the communes of Saint-Magne, Belin-Beliet and Hostens. This figure was communicated by the prefecture of the Gironde at about 4 pm on Tuesday.
Belin-Beliet, which had the sad record of being the hottest commune in France a short time ago, is now a town wrapped in a fog of smoke. The town hall is doing its utmost to coordinate evacuations while reassuring the inhabitants.
40 fires in Gironde on the same day!
The firemen had to manage about forty fires on Tuesday on the whole of the Gironde. In total, 500 firefighters were at work on Tuesday on site with the support of aerial means (two canadairs and a dash). “The positive aspect is that we were able to cover all of these 40 fires without consuming the entire surface area,” says Marc Vermeulen. “However, each time, it mobilizes crucial means, and then we cannot leave the area because of the peaty ground (which favors fire starts and becomes impassable for vehicles). We have to intensify the reinforcements while there is a tension at the national level with many fires in all France.”
The wear and tear is felt in the men as for the material and the result is not glorious since it is 40 vehicles which cannot be used since July whereas the fire departments would have needed it well.
The Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin announced this Wednesday midday that they had “decided to reinforce the means put in place: more than 1000 firemen, nine planes and two water-bombing helicopters” are currently fighting the flames.