After welcoming the “mobilization” of state services during the day, Emmanuel Macron praised Friday evening on Twitter the “courage” and “commitment” of “3,000 firefighters from all over France” to fight “against the fires that hit the south of the country”.

For this second heat wave of the year, 16 departments were placed on heat wave orange vigilance by Météo-France until Sunday, from the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence to Bordeaux. An unequivocal symptom of global warming.

While the mercury reached 35 degrees in Toulouse and 39.6 degrees in Apt (Vaucluse) on Friday afternoon, the meteorological institute predicts that from Saturday afternoon, “temperatures will begin to rise slowly on northern half”, while remaining “very high” in the southern half.

This rise will continue on Sunday, in particular in the South-West, “where 40°C will be reached more often”.

“Exceptional levels” of temperature should even be recorded on Sunday and Monday in the western regions, with many absolute records expected, especially on Monday, according to Olivier Proust, forecaster for Météo-France.

In Gironde, where fires have been raging since Tuesday, without causing any casualties, 7,850 hectares went up in smoke in two gigantic blazes, one south of Bordeaux, the other in the forest backed by the Pilat dune, according to the latest balance sheet of the prefecture.

These two fires, which mobilized 1,000 firefighters on Friday, “have not yet been fixed”, indicated the same source to AFP, and the area burned “will increase further”, warned the prefect Fabienne Buccio.

For the first fire, located in the Landiras sector, a very wooded and sparse area about forty kilometers south of Bordeaux, the situation is still considered “very unfavorable, despite the concentration of air resources”. Evacuations were still in progress there.

“The criminal thesis is privileged concerning this fire”, specified the parquet floor to AFP, even if “no police custody is in progress”.

“Here, there were tunnels of fire, you have to imagine a ball of fire”, told AFP the commander Laurent Dellac, from Cazaux, a village adjoining the forest of La Teste-de-Buch (Gironde), behind the Pilat dune. For this second fire, the situation “stabilizes”, according to the prefecture.

Since Tuesday, nearly 12,000 people have been evacuated from campsites near the Dune du Pilat as well as the town and military base of Cazaux.

– Rain of ashes in Avignon –

In the Bouches-du-Rhône, some 900 firefighters remained mobilized in the face of the fire which has struck the Montagnette massif since Thursday, south of Avignon, the wind complicating their work.

If this blaze was a fixed time, the mistral blowing at 50 km / h in gusts favored two resumptions of fire on Friday and the surface covered is now 1,276 hectares.

The events also took a legal turn with the opening of an investigation for involuntary fire, this fire having obviously been triggered by a freight train.

“According to testimonies, this freight train would have generated sparks on several occasions”, explained to AFP the prosecutor of Tarascon. This train “caused nine fire starts”, according to Lieutenant-Colonel Bisone to AFP, saying that everything would be “probably linked to a blocked brake shoe”.

Thursday at the end of the day, this fire, pushed by a south wind, had invaded Avignon with an impressive plume of smoke and a shower of ashes. On the program of the theater festival this year: the river play “A nest of ashes”, which notably stages the epic of a group of survivors of a great fire…

For the boss of the firefighters of France, Grégory Allione, this second heat wave episode in barely a month is putting the firefighters to the test. Faced with this “exceptional” season, he called on Europe 1 on Friday for “whatever the cost in terms of civil protection”.

For his part, the Minister of Health François Braun estimated on Friday that it would now be necessary to “get used to living with these heat waves” repeatedly.