“After twelve days of fierce fight” against the fires, “I am able to announce that the fire of Landiras is now fixed”, announced Monday the prefect of Gironde and New-Aquitaine in front of the press.
All the inhabitants who had to flee the villages around this fire, which occurred some 40 km south of Bordeaux, “will be able to return to their homes”, added Fabienne Buccio.
The second fire which also hit the Gironde on July 12, at La Teste-de-Buch in the Arcachon basin, ravaging 7,000 hectares of forest, had already been declared “fixed” on Saturday by the prefecture.
“Be careful, the fires are fixed. They are not extinguished. This means that there are no longer any active fireplaces”, added Ms. Buccio, pointing to “two outsized fires due to the extreme weather conditions and the means mobilized to contain them”.
She detailed an initial assessment of these fires: “Up to 3,000 firefighters from Gironde and 1,200 firefighters from 60 departments were mobilized”.
– “Several weeks” –
“From day one, we had air assets. Two to eight water bombers, Canadairs or Dash, two water bomber helicopters and a helicopter from Sdis and army support for fire surveillance”, she added. “1,200 firefighters were still mobilized yesterday (Sunday)”.
The prefect recalled how “it was necessary to show imagination (…) by carrying out titanic and unprecedented work on firewalls and fallback zones”, “131 km of work was carried out out of the 152 km planned. work is still in progress.”
Ms Buccio said 25 firefighters were injured “fortunately slightly”.
“The results are positive because there were no victims” in the population, “there were five homes destroyed out of the nearly 2,800 exposed”, added the prefect who will “bring together the services of the State to prepare for the exit from the economic crisis, to assess the impacts and identify the needs”.
The boss of the firefighters of Gironde (Sdis 33), Marc Vermeulen, for his part specified that it was necessary “first to master the fires, reasonably this week. But for the extinction itself, it can take several weeks and It will also depend on the weather conditions.
According to the firefighters, a fire is “fixed” when they think it will not progress any further. It is then “under control”, then “extinguished” and must then be “monitored”.
On these two fires, Mr. Vermeulen specified that there were always “three columns of extra departmental reinforcements” as well as “air resources: two attack helicopters and two Canadair.”
Mr. Vermeulen also praised “the national effort and the extent of the aid from which the firefighters have benefited”, this shows “that” the French civil security mechanism is capable of responding to these extraordinary situations.
The 20,800 hectares ravaged for 12 days represent twice the area of Paris intra muros.