Heat wave in France: the flames come dangerously close to the Dune of Pilat (photos)

In Gironde, after six days of firefighting, the situation remains “unfavorable” in the Teste-de-Buch sector, according to the prefecture. During the night, the flames made little progress but again threatened the Dune du Pilat campsites “due to numerous sources of fire, sustained by strong gusts of wind.”

In Gironde, firefighters were still struggling on Sunday to repair two devastating forest fires that destroyed almost 11,000 hectares of vegetation.

The “red” alert issued on Sunday, which recommends residents of the affected areas to observe “absolute vigilance” in the face of “dangerous phenomena of exceptional intensity”, affects the following departments: Charente, Charente-Maritime, Côtes-d ‘Armor , Dordogne, Finistère, Gers, Gironde, Ille-et-Vilaine, Landes, Loire-Atlantique, Lot-et-Garonne, Maine-et-Loire, Morbihan, Deux-Sèvres and Vendée.

The extreme heat peak of this wave, which began last Tuesday, justifies the passage of these 15 departments in “red vigilance due to heat wave for the start of the event at 6:00 p.m.”.

“Very hot night”

Fifty-one departments are also in watch orange (meaning “be very vigilant”) and the rest of France – with the exception of Corse-du-Sud – is in yellow (“be vigilant”).

Monday could be one of the hottest ever recorded in France. “In some areas of the southwest, it will be a heat apocalypse,” François Gourand, a meteorologist with Météo France, told AFP.

“Many records are expected tomorrow: in Brittany, with perhaps up to 40ºC in Brest”, which would be an absolute record, but also in the Landes, where “the Landes forest will be above 42ºC and maybe even 44ºC,” Meteorologist Olivier Proust said during the press conference.

The night from Monday to Tuesday will be hot in all the departments in red: “We are going to have a very hot night”, with minimum temperatures that do not drop below 25/26ºC in the coolest part of the night, he added.

On Tuesday, “the significant drop in temperatures across the Atlantic is confirmed” and the red watch should be lifted from 6:00 a.m., according to the Météo France bulletin. But strong heat is expected to continue in the southeast.

Under the effect of heat, ozone concentrations “remain sustained throughout the Metropolis”, with a deterioration expected this Monday in the Atlantic arc and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, according to Prev’air, the national air quality forecasting platform. air. Airparif also plans to “exceed the information threshold” in Ile-de-France.

In Gironde, after six days of firefighting, the situation remains “unfavorable” in the Teste-de-Buch sector, according to the prefecture. During the night, the flames made little progress but again threatened the Dune du Pilat campsites “due to numerous sources of fire, sustained by strong gusts of wind.”

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The forest, “a great asset”

“The forest is an important asset. What is happening here is without a doubt an environmental disaster. It requires that we not only shed tears, but that we take solutions, “the president of the Senate, Gérard Larcher, who came to meet the firefighters in Teste-de-Buch, before going to Landiras, the second front in Gironde, told the press. , where the fire has also made less progress.

In total since Tuesday, more than 14,000 residents and vacationers have had to pack their bags, finding refuge in particular in the seven open emergency accommodation centers.

In Murviel-les-Montpellier, in the Hérault where the thermometer exceeded 40ºC this Sunday, Gilles Thérond, 67, wakes up “every morning at 5.30 to air the house. Then, as soon as the sun comes up, we close the windows, the blinds, and even the double shades. It’s going pretty well.”

In Lyon, the neighboring chapel of the Grand Hôtel Dieu offered refuge to tourists: “We come back to admire the place but we can’t leave, it’s too hot outside. We say a prayer before the oven! laughs Jean-Marc, 51, who came from Alsace with his family.

Faced with the overwhelming heat, there is only one weapon: hydrate yourself and limit your movements to the hottest hours, Météo-France points out.

And it will take some getting used to. The multiplication of these phenomena is a direct consequence of global warming according to scientists, with greenhouse gas emissions increasing in intensity, duration and frequency.

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