Wildfire risk: Several forests in southeast France closed to public

The ban on entering the areas in the Var is set to last until at least tomorrow (June 9) as drought conditions and strong wind increase fire risk

A forest fire in some countryside
Drought conditions plus high winds have caused the forest fire risk to increase to dangerous levels in the Var department
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Most forests across the Var in southeast France are closed today (Wednesday, June 8) due to a heightened risk of forest fires.

The drought risk and strong winds forecast in the department mean the risk of wildfires is considered too high to allow public access to the spaces.

The closure began at 12:00 today. It is set to last until Thursday, June 9, or until further notice if the risk remains high. The departmental prefecture is calling on the public to remain alert and prevent further risk.

The closure includes a ban on:

  • Visiting
  • Driving or parking
  • Hiking
  • Picnicking

There have already been a number of fires in the region over the past few days.

The Var department is in the ‘red period’, which refers to the months during which the risk of fire is the highest. The period usually lasts from June 1 to September 30.

There is also a high risk when wind speeds reach more than 40km/h. This is considered strong enough to bring down large branches and electricity wires.

The following activities are banned for the duration of the red period:

  • Burning waste
  • Lighting a fire or bringing flame-creating equipment into the area
  • Using fireworks
  • Operating construction work or similar without emergency fire extinguishers or similar on hand

Last summer, the Var was hit by intense forest fires, including one that killed two people and destroyed more than 7,000 hectares of vegetation.

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