White smoke columns rise from the forest floor in the Gironde region, south of Bordeaux. The smell of burning tires is caused by brown coal which is found in the soil.
Guillaume Carnir, France’s National Forest Agency, stated that the fire had been burning since mid-July. “We don’t know how we can stop it at the moment.”
Hostens’ fire is an ember from the massive wildfires which decimated southern Europe in last year. This happened after the worst drought in human history. It was also after successive heatwaves that scientists believe were consistent with climate change.
Gironde was particularly hard hit with more than 20,000 hectares lost of forest. New fires are also possible.
Carnir stated, “All the greenery will come back in the spring. And which will be flammable.”
Pascale Got, an official local responsible for environment protection stated that drones that measure heat levels were constantly monitoring the fire at Hostens.
She stated that prevention is the best way to manage wildfire risk. This is easier if you start at the top.
Got stated that “It is obvious that we require an immediate response from the government concerning air assets.”
The interior ministry says that measures to combat forest fires in France are expected to be presented within the next few days.
Unusually dry winters have caused soil moisture to drop in areas of the European continent’s southern regions. This has raised concerns about a repeat 2022, when 780,000 hectares of Europe was destroyed. According to statistics provided by the European Commission (EC), this was twice the annual average loss over the past 16 years.
The government is currently looking into ways to make forests and woods more resistant to climate change. This could include better scrub clearing, more hardwood tree that can burn more easily, as well as other measures to prevent the area becoming an inferno every year.
Failure to act can result in soil collapse and trees falling, as well as an endless cycle uncontrollable fires that have not only decimated natural habitats but also homes or businesses.
According to authorities, Friday’s Spanish First Major Wildfire destroyed more than 3,000 ha and forced 1,500 people from their homes.
The wildfires which decimated Gironde’s Origne village for nearly two weeks last July and forced its residents to flee their homes for almost two weeks have now been put out of action. Even though firefighters were able save all houses except one, there are still scars.
“It’s different from the village I knew: there were woods, we could hike, it was beautiful,” Bernard Morlot (79), told Reuters that he considered moving. It is now desert. It looks exactly like the moon, and it’s terrible.
Vincent Dedieu, 46, couldn’t hide his sadness when he gazed out at the vast expanse of empty land with piles upon heaps of dead trees.
He stated, “It will take at least 15 years before it gets back to normal.”
Dedieu stated that he felt helpless after the disaster and was left by authorities. Dedieu stated, “We must rebuild roads and pathways.” “It will be extremely expensive, and we have none so far.”
All woodworkers and officials agreed that clearing roads and setting up firebreaks within forests are key steps to slowing down wildfires.
Pierre Berges (53), Planfor private forest manager stated that “the better the forest looks after the more fire stays.”
Berges spent months trying to salvage as much forest from wildfires. Below the charred bark of burnt trees, some wood is still in good condition and Planfor has been converting this wood into lumber, timber, or fuel.
FOREST OF FUELD
Reforesting is the best way to save areas that have been burned. You can plant them next year. Experts believe that a forest with diverse varieties of trees would make it more resilient.
Pine can be planted on private land parcels. Pine can quickly become marketable timber.
Carnir, an ONF agent stated that the maritime pin is a leader for wood production and adaptation to the environment. This includes extremes in drought or very draining soils.
However, he said that it shouldn’t stop forest agents bringing in diversity to protect forests against fire spreading or parasites.
In recent years, there has been a push for more hardwood trees such as oak and birch to be planted. Jean-Marc Bonedeau, a Planfor nursery employee, told Reuters via phone that he noticed a decrease in the number of “classic” forest varieties orders. But not in quantity but in proportion.
Bonedeau said that 70% of our production was made with maritime pine four- to five years ago. It is now only 45%.
It can be difficult to find seeds. Bonedeau said that climate change could affect the tree’s ability to bear fruit.
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