The Head of State warned that this “exceptional summer” “may not be so so” in the future due to climate change, during a tribute ceremony in the village hall of the ‘Élysée, to those involved in fire fighting.
More than 300 firefighters, mayors, helicopter pilots, volunteers and civil society actors were received at the Élysée Palace as the president had wished in August when he visited Gironde, the scene of very intense forest fires .
“For many of you, this summer was a season in hell”, “hell of flames, fatigue, desolation”, he said.
He said his “gratitude” to the “evacuated families” as well as to all the personnel involved, starting with the firefighters, two of whom disappeared this summer, Commander Pascal Allaire in Loire-Atlantique and Lieutenant Martial Morin in Bouches-du -Rhône who “paid with their lives”.
Recalling that during the summer, 72,000 hectares were burned, “six times more than the average of the last ten years”, and this almost in one out of two departments, he unveiled a plan which provides in particular for a strengthening of the means of the departments. and air assets.
Emmanuel Macron has thus announced an additional envelope of 150 million euros for the departmental fire and rescue services (Sdis) in 2023, in order to strengthen the fight against forest fires by new human and material means.
The announcement was welcomed by departmental elected officials, who largely finance the Sdis and demanded greater support from the state.
“This is a first step. The Departments will not be able to cope alone with the necessary investments. It was time for the State to take its full part”, reacted to AFP François Sauvadet, president of the Assembly of departments of France (ADF).
The President of the Republic also mentioned a “volunteer support plan” in the Sdis to “extend the period during which companies can release their volunteer firefighter”, by compensating “better corporate citizens”.
– “Emergency air rearmament” –
Regarding “emergency air rearmament”, Emmanuel Macron announced an investment of 250 million euros for an “unprecedented order” from Canadair.
“We are going to invest massively so that by the end of the five-year term” in 2027, the twelve Canadairs already in service “will be replaced and their number increased to 16”, declared the Head of State, while two heavy helicopters will soon be acquired.
This “new strategy” also provides for the drawing up of “a national map with the finest mesh” to identify “particularly vulnerable areas”, detailed the president, and will see the National Forestry Office play a “watchdog role” .
The former deputy minister Hubert Falco, ex-LR mayor of Toulon, must also carry out work to “modernize our civil security”.
“I will put all my experience, all my energy (…) at the service of this mission so that it carries meaning for all the actors involved in the field”, assured Mr. Falco on Twitter.
Finally, the President of the Republic promised “the planting of a billion trees” on French territory “within ten years”, i.e. “10% of our forest”, in particular to compensate for the fires but also in the goal of sequestering carbon and preserving biodiversity.
“It’s doable,” said the head of state, referring to “a formidable ecological and land-use project”. He indicated that “a public financing mechanism” would be put in place to achieve this end, wishing in parallel a “wide mobilization”.