France appeals to EU for fire support25/07/17Environment
France has reached out to its EU neighbours for further help fighting fires raging in the southeast.
It has requested two additional Canadair water bombers to add to the 19 aircraft currently battling the flames.
The regional head of security Stephane Bouillon described a fire in La Croix-Valmer near Saint-Tropez, as “extremely virulent and difficult to control”.
Unusually hot, dry and windy regional weather has enhanced the problem.
Some 3,000 hectares of land have burned along the Mediterranean coast, in the mountainous interior and on the island of Corsica.
In Corsica, firefighters worked overnight to control flames which consumed a sawmill and several vehicles, and it had been tackled by the following morning.
Hundreds of homes have been evacuated as the fires threaten resorts during the holiday season.
More than 2,000 firefighters have been deployed across the afflicted area, but one based on the mainland coast told Reuters news agency they were thinly stretched.
“The situation is not under control because we don’t have enough resources. The current problem for the department is that there is another fire that has spread more than 150 hectares further north, and there are two or three fires which are still active.
“So obviously, we have to allocate our resources accordingly. So we will have to wait for the water cannons to arrive.”
He added that because the fires had broken out on the evening of 24 July, when aerial services are not operational, the firefighters had endured hours working without aerial help.