The pressure was on this weekend for firefighters in Nice and the hinterland of Tende and Saint Auban, who battled multiple fires fed by dry vegetation and high winds.
Around 30 hectares of land burnt in the Alpes-Maritimes department over the course of the weekend, with the biggest two fires noted near Nice, a third in Saint Auban above Grasse, and a fourth close to the Italian border town of Tende. A further two smaller fires were reported by the Sapeurs Pompiers 06.
All began on Saturday 1st April, but were brought under control by the following day thanks to the valiant efforts of the 450 firefighters who were mobilised to tackle the blazes.
Firefighters on the scene in Saint Auban had a tough time containing the blaze due to the difficult terrain, and the use of helicopters was necessary to assist in their efforts. Meanwhile in Tende, five hectares were destroyed as flames came perilously close to homes in the small mountain village. The fire brigade performed edge flooding operations to control the fire.
— Pompiers de France (@PompiersFR) April 1, 2023
The Nice fires affected both the road to Aspremont and the road to Colomars, and forced evacuations of 54 people in the early hours of Saturday morning in Colomars. Aerial drops were performed and five firefighters on the scene were overcome by fumes. Two were taken to hospital. Roughly eight hectares in the Aspremont area was blackened, and a further 10 hectares of land were destroyed in Colomars.
FIRE SEASON KICKS IN
In France, the forest fire season typically begins in mid-March and lasts around four months. There were 423 fire alerts reported between April 2022 and March 2023: this is unusually high compared to previous annual averages.
Photo source: SDIS06