Faced with massive fires, the executive wants to mobilize more volunteer firefighters

“The message I am sending is an extremely important civic message. Faced with the dramatic scale of the fires raging in France, the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, resolved to “a solemn appeal” to employers in both the public and private sectors for “that in August , they release their employees who are volunteer firefighters” so “that they can join their colleagues everywhere on the national territory” in order to help them fight against the fires.

“We are coming to a time of fatigue for the firefighters”, warned the minister this Thursday during a trip to Aveyron, in the village of Mostuéjouls, evacuated the previous night due to the proximity of a fire. which ravaged 700 hectares in Lozère and Aveyron, and mobilized 600 firefighters.

“Eight large fires at the same time”

Professionals and volunteers have already fought several extraordinary fires since the beginning of a summer marked by a historic drought, further accentuated by successive heat waves.

This week, several major fires broke out again. “A completely extraordinary thing, we are at eight large fires at the same time”, indicated Gérald Darmanin, and eight departments are “particularly affected”. In Gironde, a month after the two gigantic fires which ravaged nearly 21,000 hectares, the fire resumed very violently on Tuesday near Landiras. More than 6,000 hectares have burned in a few hours and 10,000 people have already had to be evacuated.

A thousand firefighters from all over France are mobilized to fight against this fire which affects the Gironde and the Landes, and forced the authorities to cut the A63 motorway (Bordeaux-Bayonne axis). Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne announced Wednesday evening on Twitter that she would be there on Thursday with Gérald Darmanin.

Firefighters are also fighting smaller fires in Aveyron, Drôme, Isère and Pyrénées-Orientales. With, each time, reinforcements from other departments.

“A quarter of firefighters are mobilized on forest fires, which I believe never happened. And everywhere, including north of the Loire sometimes in territories that are not used to forest fires, ”said the Minister of the Interior. “We need to draw short-term consequences from all this.”

Help from European countries

In the meantime, France has asked for help from European countries. “The Swedes lend us from [jeudi] planes, the Italians no doubt in the next few hours, “said the minister. “This European mechanism allows us in any case in the next few hours to be able to concentrate other air resources”.

The government has been attacked in recent weeks, particularly by the left, over the lack of resources devoted to civil security and firefighters. “It’s not a controversial time,” reacted the Minister for Ecological Transition during a trip to Maine-et-Loire, where more than 1,200 hectares were destroyed by the flames, ensuring that the means of civil security had been increased “by 40%”. Asked about LCI, Christophe Béchu insisted on recalling that “95% of fires have human origins” and insisted on the safety instructions to be followed.

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