No one is safe anymore: the peak of this 45th heat wave recorded in France since 1947 is expected on the western facade, especially in Brittany so far protected by ocean entrances.
The proliferation of these extreme weather events is a direct consequence of global warming according to scientists, with greenhouse gas emissions increasing in intensity, duration and frequency.
The intense heat is fanning the fires, which have multiplied in recent days, from the forests of Gironde to the fields of farmers, who sometimes work at night to prevent a spark from the blades of the harvester from igniting their harvest.
– The fire has reached the sea –
Sunday evening, the fire in Gironde regained ground thanks to swirling winds. It devoured 14,000 hectares of vegetation, the prefecture said Monday morning. It had led to new evacuations in the Landiras sector on Sunday. According to the firefighters – who are now 1,700 mobilized according to the prefecture -, 16,200 holidaymakers in total have had to pack their bags urgently since Tuesday.
At Teste-de-Buch, “the fire arrived at the sea” and was heading south, the prefecture had indicated on Sunday evening. On amateur videos, you could see the huge blaze devouring the beach of the Lagoon, south of the Dune du Pilat.
“However, the fire should not reach the Landes department because the wind should turn towards the west and the north”, according to Lieutenant-Colonel Arnaud Mendousse.
The Ministry of the Interior announced reinforcements with, as of Sunday evening, “three additional planes” to support the six bombers already engaged, as well as “200 additional firefighters (…) with 11 heavy trucks”.
Hell is not over on the west facade, which will be hit on Monday at midday by the heatwave peak.
The “red” alert issued on Sunday, which recommends that residents of the areas concerned observe “absolute vigilance” in the face of “dangerous phenomena of exceptional intensity”, concerns 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.
Fifty-one departments are also in orange vigilance (which means “be very vigilant”) and the rest of France – with the exception of Corse-du-Sud – is in yellow (“be attentive”) .
Monday could be one of the hottest ever recorded across France. Maximum temperatures will be above 30°C everywhere, and between 38 and 40°C in half of France, from the west to the Rhône valley.
– Record in Brest –
Météo France is expecting many records, such as in Brest where “the absolute record of 35.2°C of July 1949 (…) will be exceeded this Monday afternoon”, but also in the Landes, where “the Landes forest will be above 42°C”, according to forecaster Olivier Proust.
The night from Monday to Tuesday will be scorching in all departments in red: “We’re going to have a really hot night”, with minimums not dropping below 25/26°C at the coolest of the night, a-t -he adds.
This brick-red wave will ebb as fast as it hit the west facade, pushed east by sustained winds. Heatwave red vigilance should be lifted from 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday. On Wednesday, “the high temperatures will only concern the south-eastern quarter with nights still very hot”, according to Météo France.
As a corollary to this heat wave, peaks in air pollution could appear. A deterioration is expected on Monday concerning ozone concentrations, already sustained, in particular on the Atlantic arc and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, according to Prev’air, the national air quality forecasting platform.
This heat wave affects all of Western Europe, also causing forest fires in Spain or Portugal. In the UK, the Meteorological Agency has issued the first-ever “red for extreme heat” alert in the country’s history.