French and Riviera News Friday 15th July 2022

News

Forest Fires in the Gironde - Firefighters continue to battle two fires in the Gironde department in south-western France. The two fires, one of which is the largest in the department for twenty years, are still not under control, mainly due to the wind and difficult access, being close to homes. Since Tuesday two forest fires have been raging near Landiras and La Teste-de-Buch. More than 5,300 hectares went up in smoke, despite the fierce struggle of the thousand firefighters mobilized. The situation is still very critical. During the night of Tuesday to Wednesday, 6,000 people had to be evacuated from five campsites and on Thursday afternoon, some 4,000 inhabitants of the village of Cazaux, including many holidaymakers housed in campsites, were ordered to evacuate urgently, faced with the uncontrolled advance of the flames. More than 1,000 firefighters are mobilized. The department was placed on Thursday on a red vigilance for "forest fires”.

Fire south of Avignon under control - Meanwhile in the early hours of this morning firefighters announced that the forest fire south of Avignon has been brought under control. Since Thursday afternoon, the flames have covered 1,000 hectares, of which at least 300 have been destroyed. The fire had been triggered by sparks from a passing freight train along the railway line between Tarascon and Graveson.

Heatwave - Eleven departments in France have been place on an orange heatwave alert including the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, the Ardèche and the Vaucluse. Peaks of 39 and 40 degrees are expected today from the South-West to Roussillon and Provence.

Meanwhile the Var department has been placed on a yellow heat wave alert until Sunday. The warning takes effect from this Friday noon and will be valid until Sunday July 17, 4pm. 36 and 40 degrees are expected inland with night time minimums of between 18 and 20 degrees.

The French Direction Générale de la Sécurité Civile has recommended “great caution” due to the heatwave situation and the high danger of fires which results from it, which it said is particularly marked for low vegetation such as agricultural fields, wasteland and roadside areas. The danger of fires will also be strong in the south of the country with the mistral which will affect the Rhône valley today then Saturday in areas suffering from severe drought.

Heatwave support line - The French government has reactivated its heatwave support telephone line. The heatwave Info service provides advice on how to protect yourself and those around you, especially the most vulnerable. It is 0 8