In Provence, the firefighters of Oise, “specialists in forest fires”, are already on the alert
Since this Thursday afternoon, they have been waiting on the ground in their tank trucks on the edge of the forest: if a fire breaks out in the next few hours, the next few days, they will be sent to the front. “Their mission for the moment is to be lookouts ready to intervene if unfortunately a fire were to break out”, details the SDIS60. These 21 firefighters from Oise left with their equipment on Monday towards Aix-en-Provence. They form a column of 22 firefighters (increased by a firefighter from Pas-de-Calais) including a column leader and a group leader.
Responding to the call from the southern zonal operations center, the Oise did not send just any men. “They are specially trained for wildfires. The choice was made years ago to train our firefighters in this risk, we could think that it had no interest at the time, but today, with the deterioration of climatic conditions, we can clearly see that it was essential”. These trainings, received in the Oise or in the South are level 1, 2, 3 and 4 training, “Level 4 being already very high and allowing to direct the operations on the spot“. A role that may be taken on by column leader Ludovic Deliens.
If these men have today left the Oise for Provence, it is because of pessimistic forecasts on the front of the fires in the south. “They are at very severe fire risk, due to severe drought, wind and heat”, details the SDIS of Oise. Conditions conducive to an accidental outbreak – or not – of fire. Conditions that also make it very difficult to fight the flames. “Working in the forest is really very different from working in town. You need seasoned men, who know the specific equipment and the maneuvers”.
The men of the SDIS60 are now assigned to 11 rescue centers in the Bouches-du-Rhône. If they leave to fight the flames, it will therefore be alongside the firefighters of 13, also experienced in intervention in the forest, and connoisseurs of the terrain. Other northern firefighters were also sent as reinforcements in the south. But unlike the men of Oise, most are not specialized in forest fires. Their role: to carry out the other missions, to allow the specialists to concentrate in the forest massifs. “An intense and effective strike force”summarizes the SDIS.
And what about Oise, which has had its share of field and forest fires in recent weeks as well? “If our men left, it is because today there is a very identified risk in the south, while the risk in the Oise has decreased”we reassure. “Everything is measured and today the Oise barracks are well able to respond to the risk assessed here”promise the firefighters of the Oise.
The firefighters’ mission is to last a week. But in the event of a major disaster, it could obviously be extended, because you don’t leave the front in the middle of the battle. But all hope to return, without having to pour the slightest drop of water into the Provencal forests. Because intervening in the forest is never trivial. We learned this Wednesday of the death of a volunteer firefighter from the Drôme who came down to lend a hand on July 14, precisely in the Bouches-du-Rhône. Victim of a malaise at the end of the intervention, he never recovered.
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