French firefighters tackle biggest fire for 20 years

Over 200 firefighters have been needed to quash the flames

One of the biggest forest fires in the Lot (Occitanie) in the past 20 years has destroyed over 150 hectares of land in three days, and required the mobilisation of over 200 firefighters.

The fire, which started on Saturday September 1 near the commune of Cajarc, has so far also required two Dash aeroplanes and one Canadair jet, to temper the flames.

Support firefighters have also come from surrounding regions, including Cantal, the Tarn, Tarn-et-Garonne, Averyron and Aude.

Captain Anne-Sophie Lejeune, chief of operational response service for the region, said: “This is one of the biggest forest fires that the Lot has confronted in 20 years. Firefighters have still not entirely left the area. We now have two engines intervening whenever any smoke is detected."

She explained that “continuing high temperatures, extremely dry ground and low humidity” were adding to the risk of wildfires, although cooler nighttime temperatures had reduced the danger somewhat.

She added: “The speed at which this fire spread, in a steep and rugged area with huge difficulty of access, has not helped our work.”

The use of firefighting planes in this case has helped significantly to bring the fire under control, she confirmed.

The latest fire comes soon after other - smaller - blazes in the Occitanie Lot area, including Marcilhac-sur-Célé and Le Vigan.

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