The fires contained in Portugal and in Corsica, but the risk remains

  • Photo AFP

    AFP

    Saturday, 12 August 2017 13:01

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    Saturday, 12 August 2017 13:01

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    The fires of violent were all the rage in Portugal and in the French island of Corsica were contained late Saturday afternoon, but the risk of reversals remained high because of the scorching temperatures.

    In Corsica, several fires have ravaged nearly 2000 hectares of scrub without casualties. In the night, a man “suspected to have caused five outbreaks of fire in Bastia”, a city of 40 000 inhabitants in the north-east of the island, has been placed in police custody, it was learnt on Saturday from the prefect of Haute-Corse, Gérard Gavory.

    In the Cap Corse, the northernmost tip where it has spread the first fire party on the night of Thursday to Friday, the fire was now “content, but not mastered”, indicated to the AFP, the prefecture, stating that he “no longer presents a threat to the inhabitants”.

    To Sisco, nearly 180 firefighters, reinforced by the firefighters of the Bouches-du-Rhône, and marine fire fighters of Marseille, continued their work with the help of three Canadair four Traker.

    In the Face of advancing flames in this sector, almost a thousand people, for most campers or hikers along the very tourist trail GR20, had to be evacuated to schools or confined in shelters, said the prefect.

    “You were out all night,” said to AFP Bernard Weber, a tourist 60 years of age. “There were big flames everywhere. At an altitude of 1200 metres, the whole ridge was ablaze,” sorry it retired.

    Risk of new outbreaks

    In Portugal, the fire brigade also mobilized by the hundreds for several days, have succeeded in mastering Saturday, the two major fires that were still raging in the centre, but the risk of new outbreaks remained high.

    The forest fire which ravaged the region of Abrantes since Wednesday, was brought Saturday early in the afternoon, announced the civil Protection. The progress of the flames was stopped, but more than 500 firefighters, nearly 200 vehicles and three helicopters were mobilized around the hills to the north of this city in the district of Santarém, in order to manage any occasions of fire.

    The home of the Alvaiazere, who had declared the day before in the region of Leiria, has also been confined on Saturday. More than 200 firefighters, 80 vehicles and a plane water bomber operated always at its utter extinction.

    Due to forecast weather marked by temperatures approaching 40 degrees, the alert level of orange, the fourth level of severity in five, will remain in force at least until the end of the day Monday, said Saturday the spokesman of the civil protection, Patricia Gaspar.

    “Portugal has recorded yesterday (Friday) the largest number of forest fires in a single day” since the beginning of the year, with 220 starts a fire, she pointed out.

    In mid-June, a huge blaze had been 64 deaths and more than 200 injured near Pedrogao Grande, sweeping for five days in this region of central Portugal before it can be mastered.

    Since mid-July, the south-east of France and Corsica are also on fire rehearsal, which have destroyed over 7,000 hectares of vegetation.

    The authorities have again called on the population to the greatest caution in the Haute-Corse (northern part of the island) and in the Var (south of France), because of risk of fire related to a very severe drought and strong wind gusts expected.

    Several people were indicted in recent weeks in the investigation of such fires. Friday, a young man suspected to have caused 16 fires has been charged and remanded in custody.

    The president and Emmanuel Macron spoke Saturday on the phone with the chief of the fire department of Haute-Corse, colonel Charles Baldassari, expressing “its full solidarity to the firefighters” and “saluting” full mobilization”.

    In the beginning of the week, the fire department of Haute-Corse had published an open letter “to the citizens and to the incendiary,” referring to their “nausea”, “exhaustion”, and “overexposure human and material”.

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