French firefighters, together with firefighters from other European countries, managed to contain the spread of a “monster” fire that broke out on Tuesday night in the Gironde region of southwestern France.
French firefighters, together with firefighters from other European countries, managed to contain the spread of a “monster” fire that broke out on Tuesday night in the Gironde region of southwestern France. A stretch of the highway was also opened to traffic. The massive wildfire had displaced thousands of people who had to be evacuated.
Major forest fires have broken out in the South and South-West of France since July 12, 2022. More than 6500 ha has already been burnt in the Landiras forest fire with already over 3100 ha being burnt in the La Teste de Buch forest in or close to the Gironde département. With the forecast for the next days of moderate winds Gironde, extremely low vegetation humidity levels (<10%) and high temperatures, the situation is worrying.
France also activated a European Union civil protection mechanism put in place earlier to fight forest fires. The EU dispatched four airplanes to work with the firefighting teams.
“The fire did not advance overnight thanks to the significant means employed,” the local prefect said in a tweet Saturday.
Reinforcements from across Europe helped local firefighters tackle the blaze which has ravaged forests in France’s Gironde region since Tuesday and forced 10,000 people to evacuate their homes. The fire has been fanned by wind and scorching temperatures of up to 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) in recent days.
In addition, the EU’s Copernicus satellite has been activated by France to collect data vital to first responders on the burned areas.
Elsewhere in Europe
European Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič said, “This fire season is particularly fierce on our continent. When a disaster puts a strain on national response capacities, countries affected can activate the EU Civil Protection Mechanism to receive European support.”
Meanwhile, fire also raged in Portugal and parts of England faced a severe drought. The French officials said that high temperatures and a worsening drought brought a high risk of new fires breaking out in Gironde, in the country’s south-western region.
As the media reported, much of Europe has faced weeks of baking temperatures that have also depleted water levels of the Rhine River in Germany. Earlier on Wednesday, the French officials told that a fire that destroyed thousands of hectares of tinder-dry forest in the southwest part of the country has flared again amid a fierce drought and the summer’s latest wave of extreme heat.
The local media also reported that an additional 6,000 hectares of pine forest have burned in the Landiras blaze since Tuesday afternoon. It also forced the evacuation of around 6,000 people.