France | Fire on the Côte d’Azur: “Cautious” firefighters in view of the change in weather

(Les Mayons) Despite a lull, firefighters on the Côte d’Azur remain “hyper vigilant” as they feared a resumption of winds on the fourth day of a fierce battle against the biggest fire of the year in France and a fire that killed two people.

Posted on 8/19/2021 4:38 PM

Estelle EMONET Agence France-Presse

Thursday evening around 10 p.m., the soldiers “very tired” of the fire, took advantage of the lack of wind to “regain their strength,” said AFP commander Florent Dossetti, firefighters of the Var.

However, they are preparing again to spend a night of intense work: “Today we had a lull and tonight it is cooler, we have an increase in humidity so we can consider a longer day. Positive tomorrow.” commented Mr Dossetti.

On Friday he announced that the fire brigade would work “hard” to drown the remaining edges of the fire. A race against the clock is expected before a “wind change” in the afternoon, before a “storm” on Sunday. “Given the weather, we will be extremely vigilant in the coming days,” added Dossetti.

Around noon, AFP journalists had seen flames and heavy smoke development in the communities of Luc, Vidauban and Mayons, where an east wind was blowing. The salvage was mainly controlled by drops of water from the air.

During the night, 1200 employees and 250 machines will drown the edges of the fire, which, according to the prefecture, make up 80 kilometers.

The situation in the northeast of the area, in Vidauban, Le Luc and Les Mayons, was “still very unstable” on Thursday evening, said the prefecture.

On the fourth day of this devastating fire, which started on Monday from a motorway rest area, the fire spread over 8,100 hectares and burned 7,100 hectares of forest.

Calling a witness

On Thursday, as part of the ongoing judicial investigation, the Var Gendarmerie appealed “to gather testimony from people providing information on the circumstances of the fire”.

“It’s about being sure you don’t walk past someone who saw something,” Draguignan’s prosecutor Patrice Camberou told AFP.

The fire killed two people on the same property in a hamlet of Grimaud. Two charred bodies were found in this house in a deep valley.

By announcing these first two deaths on Wednesday, in addition to 26 minor injuries (19 civilians poisoned and seven firefighters), Var Prefect Evence Richard confirmed that one of them was a man and insisted it was not is that there is “no certainty”. for the second body.

According to several relatives of a young woman who was missing since Monday evening and who was staying in an accommodation in Grimaud, the second victim would be this 32-year-old tourist from the Ile-de-France.

“Goodbye little sister”

Contacted by AFP on Facebook, a young woman near the disappeared confirmed the death of her boyfriend on the social network on Wednesday evening. This death was also announced by his brother in a post entitled “Goodbye Little Sister”.

When asked about the possibility of new victims, fire brigade commander Loïc Lambert assured on Wednesday that “most of the areas have been explored”.

This mid-summer fire in a very touristy area required the evacuation of around 10,000 people.

And when 1,300 holidaymakers were able to return to their tents and campers from a campsite in the village of La Môle on Wednesday evening, thousands spent a third night in emergency shelters.

The consequences of the fire are also very severe for the makers of the Rosé de Provence, which is very popular in the United States and Europe, as some winemakers have seen their utensils or sheds put in ashes.

A “rescue operation” for turtles took place on Thursday in the Plaine des Maures nature reserve, an oasis of biodiversity devastated by flames, an AFP team found.

In a charred moonscape, volunteers discovered that some of Hermann’s tortoises, a protected species, had been burned. But about thirty others were found unharmed after taking shelter under rocks and were able to fetch water. Volunteers and scientists withdraw from the threatening fire brigade.

Several countries around the Mediterranean, from Israel to Morocco, via Algeria and Spain, were hit by severe fires this summer.

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