Science

The fire in the river Hérault, France, is still not extinguished – Science et Avenir

The fire, which burned 800 hectares of vegetation near Montpellier, has been contained, but firefighters remain vigilant amid dry France and a still high fire risk.

On Wednesday morning, three Hérault firefighters’ bombers resumed their flights to put out a fire that broke out the previous day in two different places, burning 800 hectares of shrubs, holm oaks and vineyards in a sparsely populated area.

“We could see on the hill that the fire was progressing, and then when we went home, because the air started to get a little stuffy and stung our eyes,” Stephanie Gauthier, a resident of the village of Aumelas, told AFP Tuesday.

She is one of about 130 of the city’s 500 residents tentatively evacuated overnight, in addition to the 150 wedding attendees at the domain. On Wednesday, the evacuees were able to return to their homes.

“There are no victims. As a result of the fire, not a single residential building was damaged, ”the prefecture reminded on Wednesday.

This new fire comes just days after two “exceptional” fires that devastated almost 21,000 hectares of forest in the Gironde in twelve days and led to the evacuation of about 36,000 people.

In this department in western France, about 500 firefighters are still on site to deal with “edges and flashpoints”, probably for several more weeks, Thomas Couturier, spokesman for the city’s fire department, told AFP news agency Gironde.

– Dune du Pilat is open again –

However, one of the symbols of the department, the Dune du Pilat, was able to reopen on Wednesday in La Teste-de-Buch “in a safe environment and with managed lanes.”

In Hérault, firefighters also continue to put out fires.

“A criminal investigation has been launched,” said Montpellier prosecutor Fabrice Belarzhan.

“We think this is a crime,” Gignac Mayor Jean-Francois Soto said.

In addition to the megafires in the Gironde, several fires have also affected the south-east of France this summer. In mid-July, 1,600 hectares were noticeably smoked south of Avignon.

In the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, a fire that broke out on Tuesday in Rougon, a village located on the heights of the Verdon Regional Natural Park, engulfed 170 hectares of forest, Colonel Christophe Paichou, director of the Fire and Rescue Service (Sdis), said on Wednesday morning.

If the fire has been brought under control from multiple directions, it continues to spread through a very steep area of ​​low vegetation that can only be reached on foot but lacks living quarters, the fire chief added.

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, the level of drought has reached a record level, with 91 out of 96 departments forced to impose restrictions on the use of water.

July 2022 is likely to be the driest July on record since 1959, according to Météo-France.

The government is currently developing projects that should allow for an increase in water storage capacity from next year to “return it when farmers need it,” Minister of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty Marc Feno told RTL on Wednesday.

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