In many cities in France it is hotter than ever. In the southwest of the country, thousands of people had to leave their homes because of forest fires. Extremely high temperatures are also expected in the east of the country on Tuesday.
The current heat wave has brought numerous new temperature records to France. The highest temperatures of all time were measured in many French cities on Monday, according to the national weather service. In Brest, on the Atlantic coast in the far north-west of Brittany, for example, mercury climbed to 39.3 degrees Celsius – more than four degrees above the previous record of 35.1 degrees from 2002.
In Saint-Brieuc, also in Brittany, 39.5 degrees were recorded – here the previous record was 38.1 degrees. The temperature in the city of Nantes was 42 degrees, beating the heat record of 40.3 degrees from 1949.
In the Gironde department in the southwest of the country, local temperatures of up to 44 degrees were reached on Monday.
Forest fires in France: people are evacuated
The highest temperature ever measured on mainland France dates back to 2019. At that time, 46 degrees were measured in the village of Verargues, northeast of Montpellier in southern France.
Extremely high temperatures since the beginning of the summer have led to drought in France and triggered several forest fires. West of Bordeaux, not far from Europe’s highest sand dune, Dune du Pilat, firefighters have not yet managed to contain the flames.
Thousands of people in south-west France have once again had to leave their homes because of the violent fires. The responsible prefecture announced that 8,000 people were affected by a “precautionary evacuation” from two districts of La Teste-de-Buch. The city lies on the Arcachon Basin on the Atlantic coast and has been affected by a violent fire for several days.
Fire brigade on campsites in action
According to the regional newspaper “Sud Ouest” there are also fires on campsites, gas bottles would explode. The fire brigade cut firebreaks. In the past week, thousands of people had had to leave their homes or campsites because of violent fires near the Dune de Pilat near Bordeaux.
An enormous fire also raged in the municipality of Landiras, which is also in the Gironde department south of Bordeaux. 13,000 hectares of vegetation have already burned in the two fires.
There are now 1,700 firefighters in the region. The Ministry of the Interior announced on Sunday evening that it would increase the number of fire-fighting aircraft from six to nine.
Rapidly changing winds in the Dune de Pilat area have increased the risk of the fires spreading to residential areas, authorities said. Clouds of smoke were already hanging over them.
Restrictions on car traffic in the east
Because smoke is threatening to reach the Bassin d’Arcachon zoo in Teste-de-Buch, as many animals as possible should be evacuated from Monday. This was announced by the French Zoo Association AFDPZ. The zoo has been closed since Friday.
The French region of Grand Est imposes restrictions on car traffic because of air pollution caused by the sun and heat. The measures, which are to take effect from Tuesday morning at 6 a.m., include a speed reduction of 20 kilometers per hour on motorways and dual carriageways. In addition, speed and pollutant controls should be carried out more intensively, as the responsible prefecture announced on Monday.
Training and test times for motorsport events are also to be restricted. In the region, which stretches from the Vosges to Alsace, Lorraine and the Ardennes to Champagne, up to 40 degrees are expected on Tuesday.