New fires engulfed the south-east of France on Sunday, burning 350 hectares in the Gard district, where a firefighter was seriously injured, and 35 hectares near Marseille, causing partial motorway closures.
“Four firefighters were injured,” Home Secretary Gérald Darmanin said in a tweet about the fire that broke out around 3:00 p.m. in a pine forest in the town of Aubaix (2,000 inhabitants), south of Nîmes, in the fire department. risk and which from Monday afternoon will be on orange vigilance, like four other departments in the southeast (Drome, Ardèche, Vaucluse, Pyrenees-Orientales).
One of them, “heavily wounded”, was evacuated by helicopter to the Montpellier Hospital Center with burns to his hands and face, while three others, more lightly injured, were victims of a “hot blow” after the flames were deflected by the wind, which partially destroyed their car, Colonel Agrinier told AFP who coordinates operations on site. A hospitalized firefighter is not involved in a vital forecast, the fire department said in a Sunday evening report.
At 22:00, the evolution was “favorable” for firefighting thanks to “a sharply dropped wind that blows in the same direction,” Commander William Borelli, in charge of communications, clarified.
“We have good hopes that we will be able to put out (contain) the fire by tomorrow,” Mr. Borelli added on Sunday evening, even if planes and helicopters have to halt their releases by nightfall.
Some preventive evacuations have been carried out in the Obé districts and a multi-purpose facility has been opened in the village to house these residents, the prefecture and firefighters told AFP.
According to firefighters, the flames “affected” two houses, as well as two barns.
As a security measure, the A9 motorway, which serves Spain among others, was closed to traffic in both directions for about ten kilometers between Lunel and Gallargue due to smoke. It reopened at 7:30 p.m., road company Vinci said.
– Red vigilance in the Gironde –
At Boucher Rhone, about twenty kilometers from Marseille, a fire that broke out at the end of the day at the height of Penn Mirabeau was “fixed” in the evening after covering 35 hectares. Rescue service (Sdis) at 22:00. About 200 houses at risk of fire were protected.
“A thick column of smoke was visible over the A7 motorway,” which was closed for several hours, leading to traffic jams this weekend among holidaymakers, an AFP journalist notes. At 22:00, the highway was reopened, but not in all lanes.
Since the beginning of summer, several major fires have already occurred in France. Nearly 21,000 hectares were devastated in the Gironde and 1,600 hectares burned in Provence, south of Avignon, in mid-July.
The prefecture announced on Sunday that the department of the Gironde would once again be on a “red alert” due to the risk of forest fires.
In the Hérault department, a fire that broke out on Tuesday about twenty kilometers from Montpellier destroyed 800 hectares of vegetation, while in the Ardèche 1,200 hectares were destroyed in the same week.
If summers are dry in the south, with global warming, the intensity of these drought episodes is likely to increase even more, according to UN climate experts.
In France, with global warming, “activity (fires) will intensify in areas where it is already strong, in the southeast,” said Jean-Luc Dupuy, an expert at the National Institute for Agricultural Research, Food. and Wednesdays (Inrae) at the end of June.