Heatwave, storm and forest fire alert as France reaches 41C
Thirteen departments in France are on orange heatwave alert today, with temperatures of up to 41°C expected, as authorities warn of a risk of storms, and also forest fires after wildfire destroyed 100 hectares.
Météo France has placed 13 departments in the east of the country on alert for a canicule (heatwave) today (Friday July 31), rising to 19 departments at risk of storms due to the heat. A total of 15 departments are on yellow alert for strong winds and high heat.
Temperatures are expected to be high across the entire country, from 25-30°C to the west and in Normandy, from 30-35°C in the west and south-east, and 36-41°C across much of the centre and east.
Temperatures will soar particularly in the Rhône valley and Savoie areas, the forecaster said.
Strong electric storms are expected by the end of the day, especially in the centre-east, west Bourgogne, Ile de France and in the Hauts de France, with gusts of wind up to 100kph, and 5-33mm of rain in less than one hour. Some areas may even see hail.
The night (between Friday and Saturday) is expected to remain hot, before temperatures drop on Saturday and Sunday.
The departments on orange heatwave (canicule) alert are:
Côte d’Or, Doubs, Jura, Saône-et-Loire, Ain, Rhône, Loire, Haute-Loire, Ardeche, Drôme, Isère, Savoie, Haute-Savoie.
The departments on orange storm alert are:
Pas-de-Calais, Nord, Aisne, Somme, Oise, Val d’Oise, Yvelines, Paris, Essonne, Loiret, Seine-et-Marne, Cher, Nièvre, Yonne, Aube.
Full details can be seen at vigilance.meteofrance.fr.
Fire risk; 100 hectares destroyed near Bayonne
Similarly, safety authority la Direction Générale de la Sécurité Civile has warned people to be alert to the risk of forest fires due to the dry ground and high heat.
The warning comes as a wildfire destroyed more than 100 hectares in Anglet, in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques (Nouvelle-Aquitaine) last night.
More than 100 people were evacuated as the fire took hold, with 145 firefighters on the scene to take control of the flames and ensure they did not reach residential areas.
Quelle tristesse ce feu... Le poumon vert du BAB en flammes ! C'est horrible, toute cette forêt du Pignada partie en fumée, Izadia et ses espèces protégées, l'accrobranche... gros gros coup dur pour Anglet ! On n'avait pas besoin de ça, p... ça fait ch... pic.twitter.com/u4D03naRgp— Côte basque people (@Cotebasquepeopl) July 30, 2020
Incendie à Anglet. Graves dommages. 50 hectares brulés. Le feu est parti non loin du stade Orok Bat, il a traversé la forêt de Chiberta pour atteindre d'abord l'avenue de l'Adour puis la zone de la Barre. Ci dessous, le parc Izidia en flammes pic.twitter.com/wceWFcYjMM— France Bleu Pays Basque (@Bleu_Basque) July 30, 2020
The prefect of Bayonne, Hervé Jonathan, said: “The fire is now under control, and there is no more uncontrolled spread of fire.”
Yet, Mr Jonathan said that “there is still a risk the fire could return”.
Claude Olive, mayor of Anglet, said: “What I have seen has made me cry. The forest, an environmental and historical treasure, has gone up in smoke. It is awful. There is nothing left.”
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