“Twenty years ago, we never mentioned the potential for bushfires to affect Nevers! Rene Faust, Mayor of Chamblemy, hosted Saturday May 21 in his hometown the annual county exercise for firefighters as part of their bushfire training.
A sign of the importance the public authorities attach to this problem caused by successive droughts at the beginning of the twenty-first century, the Governor of Nevers, Daniel Barnier, has followed the afternoon scenarios in the wooded areas of the city, along with his boss. Among the 1,200 Nivernais firefighters, Colonel Olivier Peycru. “34% of the land of the Nivernais is forest. Since 2015, 39 fires have broken out in the Nivernais,” said the governor.
“This ratio and this number take into account the challenges facing this department and the need to provide the country with an operational capacity, both tactical and in terms of means, effective in fighting potentially large vegetation fires. Forest. My presence today marks this extensive training, both in vehicles (a dozen of All-terrain firefighting trucks) and in personnel (about sixty volunteer and professional firefighters), attests that the risk of wildfires is a major problem for the Nivernais landscape in the context of global warming that concerns us all.”
The main challenge of the Nivernais natural areas
The firefighters who participate in this life-size exercise are, like about a third of Nivernais firefighters, already specialized and trained in fighting wildfires. In the morning, they trained their scales and continued to improve their mechanism.
In the afternoon, they traveled in an organized caravan a few kilometers from the forest trails to respond to the theoretical scenario of great urgency prepared by Commander Philippe Rusiñol, in which case protecting the Feneri clinic from a fire at nearly one kilometer per hour would threaten. “It will be a matter of ‘cutting’ the fire by deploying a support line of ten bushfire carriers on a front about two hundred meters high,” the officer explained to the Governor of Nevers before going there. Execution of the expected plan was flawless: with an impressive spread and an absolutely amazing joint release of spears.
Protect and protect yourself
A little later in the afternoon, an intervention group of three all-terrain tankers and a light driving car, still under the watch of the governor, carried out a self-defense maneuver in record time. “This type of exercise is intended to protect a group that realizes it can no longer extricate itself from a wildfire and that is gathering safely while the front of the flame passes over it,” identified Commander Rossignol. In less than a minute, two magma trucks surrounded the light vehicle, and the third was parked with a shield.
The sound of the siren was the exit signal to get rid of spears in the “peacock tail” guiding the water in front of the flame front and on the vehicles, and all the sirens in which all the firefighters found sanctuary for a runoff guard while the flame front passed, passed, passed successfully. “A situation like this has never happened before in Nevers, but it is not too rare for fires in the south of France. Our staff are also trained to ensure their safety in conditions of extreme danger.