Home WORLD EUROPA In France, the lack of water bombers against the fires worries

In France, the lack of water bombers against the fires worries

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President Emmanuel Macron promised on Wednesday the purchase of additional planes to fight the fires, during a trip to Gironde, where two megafires destroyed nearly 21,000 hectares of forest.

The 22 planes with which the Civil Protection is equipped were sufficient in recent years. […] Do we need more? The answer is yeshe judged.

With global warming, the fires should indeed intensify in regions where they are already recurrent, such as the Southeast, but they are also likely to affect regions further north which until then were immunized against these disasters, scientists from the National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (INRAE) warned at the end of June.

The national context which imposes a movement of air resources outside the usual area of ​​action jeopardizes the coverage of the Mediterranean departments. »

A quote from Dominique Lain, President of the Var Fire and Rescue Service

This department, both very wooded and very touristy, had been affected by the largest fire of the summer in France in 2021. More than 6,000 hectares had burned in the hinterland of the seaside resort of Saint-Tropez.

A firefighter on his truck tries to put out a major fire.

Firefighters attempt to fight a forest fire near Landiras in southwestern France.

Photo: Associated Press / Firefighters of Gironde

And this year, drought and heat waves pose significant risks.

However, it is no longer possible today to preposition like every year on the canadairs department [bombardiers d’eau] or heavy helicopters when the risk becomes maximummentioned Mr. Lain, because of the mobilization of these resources elsewhere, mainly in Gironde.

years, with a reduction in burnt surfaces, is highly degraded”,”text”:”The rapid and massive attack strategy […] on incipient fires, which has proven its worth for 30 years, with a reduction in burnt surfaces, is greatly degraded”}}”>The rapid and massive attack strategy […] on incipient fires, which has proven its worth for 30 years, with a reduction in burnt surfaces, is highly degradedhe said.

The overall number of canadairs is insufficient for the territoryalso judged this week the president of the Alpilles park and the network of natural parks in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) region, Jean Mangion.

In search of water bombers

It is today that the recruitment of pilots must be made, today that the orders of canadairs must be placed. […] All of this takes time and was not planned. Tomorrow it may be too late. »

A quote from Jean Mangion, president of the network of natural parks in the PACA region

A few days ago, a fire covered 1600 hectares in the Provençal massif of La Montagnette.

On paper, France has 19 tanker planes based in Nîmes-Garons (Gard): 12 water bombers capable of carrying 6,000 liters of water each and seven Dash planes of 10,000 liters (an eighth is expected in 2023 ), which refuel on the ground in one of the 22 pelicandromas provided for this purpose in France.

Three reconnaissance aircraft Beechcraft and helicopters, including two heavy water bombers (4000 liters of water), complete the system.

France has also acquired two additional canadairs for 2025 as part of a grouped European order.

The president of the region PACA, Renaud Muselier, said Thursday that the region was ready to finance a third device. But he is waiting for the green light from the State, the only one authorized to place the order. They don’t want, I don’t understand whyhe regrets.

French firefighters use a water hose to put out a forest fire.

Some of the departments most exposed to fires are forced to finance the rental of aerial means themselves.

Photo: Getty Images / NICOLAS TUCAT

Mr. Muselier explains that he also wants to finance a new pelicandrom in Hyères (Var) and also wait for an authorization from the State.

We wanted to make economies of scale. […] Today, the reality is that the canadairs are old planes of which only 6 out of 12 are operational, for reasons of maintenance or spare parts. »

A quote from Renaud Muselier, President of the PACA region

As a result, some of the departments most exposed to fires are forced to finance the rental of aerial means themselves each year to complete the national system, as in the Var.

The state must help us financially, implores Dominique Lain, who has made an appointment with the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, to express his concern. He calls to a collective awareness.

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