By Anders Lorenzen
Is this a view of the future?
Neighbouring European countries sent help as France battled a “monster” wildfire last week which raged for several days in southwestern France, ravaging forests and forcing more than 10,000 people to evacuate their homes.
And more than a week after it started, it is still burning although French authorities have said the fire is now under control.
Wildfires on the rise in Europe
In recent years the wildfire season in Europe has hugely intensified with much more severe and prolonged fires. This one however seems to have shocked even seasoned veterans. One of the firefighters battling it, Gregory Allione from the french firefighter’s body FNSPF said: ‘It’s an ogre, it’s a monster”.
The wildfire centred around the region of Gironde, which was also impacted by a massive wildfire in July destroying more than 20,000 hectares of forest. It is too early to say what the damage is this time around.
The mayor of Hostens, one of the villages impacted by the wildfire said: “The area is totally disfigured. We’re heartbroken, we’re exhausted.”
Not only are wildfires becoming much more commonplace as a direct result of climate change, but in a cruel twist, they also exacerbate climate change by releasing huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. Between June and August – the Gironde wildfires alone have already released one million tonnes of CO2 – equivalent to the annual emissions of 790,000 cars.