Météo-France lifted the red heat wave vigilance on Tuesday morning. Now seventy-three departments are on orange alert. The end of “the intense heatwave episode on the Atlantic coast” could give respite to firefighters mobilized in Gironde where 17,000 hectares went up in smoke.
The eastern half of France will still suffer from the heat wave on Tuesday July 19. But, after the numerous heat records recorded on Monday, the significant drop in temperatures by the Atlantic led to the lifting of red “heat wave” vigilance on Tuesday morning in 15 departments of the Atlantic arc. Seventy-three departments are now on orange alert.
“A cooler oceanic air mass has arrived from the west”, ending “the intense heat wave episode on the Atlantic coast”, notes the Météo-France bulletin, which specifies that “temperatures will start to rise again in the more eastern regions” with highs between 37 and 40°C.
At the end of the day, “locally violent thunderstorms” are expected in the Hautes-Pyrénées and Béarn, before progressing towards the Toulouse region, the Dordogne and the Limousin.
No lull on the fire side
The night from Monday to Tuesday was complicated in Gironde on the front of the two giant fires which have already ravaged 17,000 hectares of forest.
Nearly 1,700 firefighters from all over France, supported by significant air resources, are mobilized against these two fires which burned 4,700 hectares of forest in La Teste-de-Buch and 12,000 hectares in Landiras, 50 km to the east, according to the latest point from the Gironde prefecture on Monday evening. At the end of the afternoon, a new fire broke out in Vensac, in the Médoc, burning 70 hectares.
A man has been taken into police custody as part of the investigation into the Landiras fire, the Bordeaux prosecutor’s office announced.
At the foot of the Dune du Pilat, the five campsites “have burned down to 90%”, said the prefect of Gironde, Fabienne Buccio. “We don’t get discouraged, the fire doesn’t do what it wants, we annoy it. We build firebreaks, ditches, everything we can do around it.”
This heat wave affects all of Western Europe, also causing forest fires in Spain or Portugal. The temperature could exceed the 40°C threshold on Tuesday in Great Britain, a first in the country. About half of the territory of the European Union is currently facing a risk of drought, the European Commission announced on Monday.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.