Fires in Gironde: “The forest will not be able to withstand fires in summer and storms in winter”, warns Jean

The idea is to provide feedback on these fires which have affected the territory, in Gironde, in the South-East, but also in areas which, until then, were rather spared such as the Jura and Brittany. There are many lessons to be learned: on the national strategy…

The idea is to provide feedback on these fires which have affected the territory, in Gironde, in the South-East, but also in areas which, until then, were rather spared such as the Jura and Brittany. There are many lessons to be learned: on the national strategy, the air resources, as well as those allocated to the Sdis subject to strong demographic growth. Also on priorities. Do we always have to intervene at a nascent fire? Which was the most convincing response when we diverted our Canadairs to the beginnings of fire in the north of Gironde and the north of Landes.

Beyond the means, whether local, national or European, there is the question of forest management…

For the Landes de Gascogne massif, there are many questions: from its development to its economic model. The subject of the support zones used by the firefighters to fight the fire is also raised. Should we multiply them, review their design? Thanks to these fires, many mayors discovered the extreme fragmentation of forest ownership. Should we imagine exchanges to have more homogeneous plots? Finally, the forest ensures a significant capture of CO2. How does the State plan to consider this character so precious? We need to review the whole forest value chain, including the re-professionalization of the DFCI (1).

When she came, the Prime Minister mentioned the possibility of replanting with other species. What about?

Attempts to plant acacias were a fiasco. If we planted maritime pine here, it is to clean up the Landes marshes and because it is satisfied with poor soils. In addition, its horizontal root system allows it to capture surface water. And it’s not neutral. What will happen to the 20,000 hectares burned in Landiras? Will these lands be flooded again?

The forest has already suffered the storms of 1999 and 2009 and it has recovered, is this cause for hope?

Storm Klaus affected 400,000 hectares of forest, the fires burned 30,000. We could consider that their impact is minor, but these fires were extraordinary. The forest can rise again. But climatologists say it: the recurrence and intensity of these phenomena will increase. If this winter we have a major storm, when the winds rush into these scorched spaces, it will again be a disaster. At some point, the forest will not be able to withstand fires in summer and storms in winter.

Faced with such a challenge, what do you expect from the State?

The solutions to be provided must first take into account our word, that of the local elected representatives who represent the populations who live here. We have to say which forest we want to pass on to future generations. Afterwards, the State will have to take its share of financial responsibility, just like the communities and the private sector.

Fires in Gironde: “The forest will not be able to withstand fires in summer and storms in winter”, warns Jean-Luc Gleyze