Forest fires in France: thousands of hectares burned and more than 15,000 people evacuated

Two gigantic forest fires were still raging in western France on Monday, devouring thousands of hectares of vegetation and forcing the authorities to evacuate more than 15,000 people as a preventive measure.

In Gironde, where some 1,700 firefighters and nine water bomber planes have been fighting the flames for several days, 14,000 hectares of land have been charred by the flames since Tuesday, or 1,000 hectares more than Sunday evening.

Despite the significant land and air resources involved, the situation is not fixed and even deteriorated in the afternoon, ”according to the firefighters.

Like 14 other departments in the west, the Gironde has been placed on “heat wave red” vigilance, the maximum level, for the day on Monday, in anticipation of temperatures which should exceed 42°C in the afternoon, accompanied wind at 60 km/h.

The devastating fires also forced officials at the Arcachon Basin zoo to evacuate its animals due to the toxic fumes emanating from the two gigantic fires, while some 8,000 people were being evacuated to La Teste-de. -Buch, bringing the total number of evacuees to more than 15,000.

In this context, France has activated the European civil protection solidarity mechanism RescEu, which allows mutual assistance between Member States of the European Union.

Thus, Greece has made available to France two Canadairs who are already on the ground in Nîmes, while two other aircraft from Italy will be deployed as needed.

Since the beginning of the year, 25 times more areas have burned compared to the previous year (13,000 hectares against 500 hectares last year at the same period), according to a press release from the ministry published on Friday.

The country is facing an unfavorable meteorological context, in particular high temperatures, strong winds and an episode of drought which favors the emergence of large-scale fires, explains the same source.

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