Heat wave in France: the heat wave shifts to the east, 19,000 ha burned in Gironde
Sylvie Claire / July 19, 2022
The eastern half of France will still suffer from the heat wave this Tuesday, but the Atlantic coast should blow, after a complicated night in Gironde on the front of the two giant fires that have already destroyed 19,000 hectares of forest.
Meteo-France lifted Tuesday morning the red heatwave vigilance on 15 departments of the Atlantic coast, but 73 remain placed in orange vigilance, with temperatures rising, between 37 and 40°C in the east, and locally violent thunderstorms expected in the southwest. In this region, nearly 2,000 firefighters from all over France, supported by significant air resources, are mobilized against two fires that have burned 4,700 hectares of forest in La Teste-de-Buch and 12,800 in Landiras, 50 km east, according to the latest update from the prefecture of Gironde on Monday evening.
In total, more than 37,000 people, residents or vacationers, had to leave their homes because of the fires in Gironde, which are still not fixed. In La Teste, an Ehpad was evacuated as a precaution during the night. In the late afternoon, a new fire broke out in Vensac, in the Médoc, burning 70 hectares and forcing 500 people to evacuate preventively.
On Monday, a huge plume of smoke was visible from the Arcachon basin. On Monday evening, the Bordeaux public prosecutor's office indicated that a man was in custody for his alleged role in the Landiras fire. The investigations point to a deliberately malicious act. At the foot of the Pilat Dune, the five campsites, from which 6,000 holidaymakers had been evacuated on Wednesday night, have burned to 90%, said the prefect of Gironde, Fabienne Buccio. Numerous explosions resounded Monday afternoon, due to the gas bottles left in the campsites and in the abandoned restaurants.
Many local heat records were broken during this hottest day of this heat wave, announced Meteo-France, the second heat wave since June. According to provisional values taken at 5 pm, the thermometer showed for example 39.3°C in Brest (against a previous record of 35.1°C in August 2003), 39.5°C in Saint-Brieuc (against 38.1°C in August 2003), 42°C in Nantes (against 40.3°C in July 1949) or 42.6°C in Biscarrosse (against 41.7°C in June 2022). During the night, temperatures remained very high according to Météo-France, with an absolute record broken in La Hague with 32.8°C at 03:00.
No one is safe anymore: the peak of this 45th heat wave recorded in France since 1947 affected on Monday the whole western facade, from the Landes and the Gers to the Finistère. 313 hectares of vegetation have blazed in the Monts d'Arrée (Finistère).