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France fights wildfires of ‘monsters’

Reuters/AFP Hostens, France

Yesterday, 10,000 people were forced to flee their homes as wildfires dubbed the ‘Monster’ raged for the third straight day in southwestern France, destroying forests.
With the heat wave likely to subside by the weekend, water bomber-backed firefighters fought on many fronts and said large fires could change direction at any moment.
“It’s a demon, it’s a monster,” Gregory Arione of the French fire brigade FNSPF told RTL Radio.
Wildfires raged across Europe this summer as successive heatwaves devoured the continent and refocused the risks of climate change to industry and livelihoods.
Before evacuating Bellin-Bérier, in the heart of the Gironde region, Valentine Dupy took photographs of the house “just in case”.
“It was like an apocalypse. Smoke everywhere, planes throwing orange gunpowder over fire,” she said.
A firefighter said she was able to save her village, which was turned into a ghost town after police ordered residents to evacuate when the flames approached.
But the flames have reached the suburbs, leaving destroyed homes and charred tractors.
“We were lucky. Our homes were saved. But we see catastrophes everywhere. Some houses were not saved,” said Gaetan, a resident, of the burned down houses. pointed and said.
“You’d think we’d be in California. It’s huge…and they’re used to wildfires here, but we’re overwhelmed in every way. Nobody expected this.” We couldn’t have,” he told AFP at the Landes de Gascogne Natural Park.
Nearby homes hung white sheets with messages of support for the exhausted fire brigade, including “Thank you for saving my home.”
“All night we fought to contain the spread of the fire and especially to protect the village of Bellin-Berrier,” Lieutenant Colonel Arnaud Mendouse of the Gironde Fire and Rescue Service told journalists in Hostense.
Assistance with 361 firefighters, trucks and hydrogen bombers has come from all over Europe to support the 1,100 French firefighters already on the ground.
“We are still in the process of (trying to) contain the fire and direct it where we want it, where there is less vegetation, where the vehicle can be optimally positioned…we will eventually fix it and You can control and extinguish the fire, said Matthieu Jomain, spokesperson for Gironde firefighters.
Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne is scheduled to meet with authorities battling the Landiras fire in southern Bordeaux, with further reinforcements expected for the 1,100 firefighters at the scene, the Gironde department said.
Eight large wildfires are currently raging in France, and Interior Minister Gérald Dalmanin, who was scheduled to meet with Gironde authorities yesterday, said Sweden and Italy were sending firefighting aircraft to help. Told.
On Twitter, President Emmanuel Macron added that Germany, Greece, Poland, Romania and Austria were also providing aid.
“More than 10,000 firefighters and security forces have been mobilized against the blazes across the country…these fire soldiers are our heroes,” he said.
More than 60,000 hectares (230 square miles) have burned in France so far this year, according to data from the European Forest Fire Information System.
French authorities have announced that temperatures in the Gironde region will reach 40 degrees Celsius and remain elevated until tomorrow.
Firefighters warned of an “explosive cocktail” of weather conditions where wind and crater conditions help fan the flames.
The Gironde suffered wildfires in July that destroyed more than 20,000 hectares of forest and temporarily displaced about 40,000 people.
Hostens mayor Jean-Louis Dartiailh described the past few weeks as a disaster.
“This area is completely destroyed. We are heartbroken and exhausted,” he told Radio Classique. “(This fire) is the last straw.”



http://www.gulf-times.com/story/722548/France-battles-monster-wildfire France fights wildfires of ‘monsters’

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