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WILDFIRES

5 campsites destroyed in south west France as wildfires rage

As wildfires continue to rage in south west France at least five campsites in the area have been destroyed, along with an area of forest the size of Paris. Fires have also broken out in other areas including Brittany.

5 campsites destroyed in south west France as wildfires rage
Flames rising in a forest near Louchats, some 35kms from Landiras in Gironde, southwestern France on July 18, 2022. Photo by Philippe LOPEZ / POOL / AFP

Two wildfires have been burning in the Gironde département in south west France for a week, and a total of 37,000 people have now been evacuated from the area.

One of the fires has reached the coast at Dune du Pilat, Europe’s tallest sand dune, which is also a popular spot for camping. At least five campsites sited close to the dune are “90 percent destroyed” according to the local Préfet Fabienne Buccio.

The destroyed sites are; La Forêt du Pilat, La Dune, Pyla Camping, Le Petit Nice and Yellow Village panorama du Pyla.

Meanwhile in Bordeaux, 60km away from the fire, the city is engulfed in a thick “smog” caused by smoke from the fires, while locals have complained of a strong smell of smoke.

Photos of the city show it covered in a haze, while air quality maps for the whole region show dangerous levels of air pollution.

More than 2,000 firefighters are still battling the flames in Gironde, and a sudden change in the wind direction on Monday afternoon saw three further towns evacuated.

A wildfire also broke out in Brittany on Monday, in the département of Finistère – 160 firefighters are on the scene.

Member comments

  1. Climate change is impacting Europe now but both Africa and Asia experience worse conditions.

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STRIKES

UPDATE: French air traffic controllers cancel strike action in September

The main union representing French air traffic controllers has cancelled calls for a strike from September 28th to 30th, after "reaching an agreement with their supervisory ministry."

UPDATE: French air traffic controllers cancel strike action in September

SNCTA, the main union for air traffic controllers said this week that they had lifted their calls for a three-day strike at the end of September after coming to an agreement with France Ministry of Transport. 

In a statement on its website, the SNCTA said “In view of the concrete progress made on the demands, the SNCTA is lifting its [strike] notice for September 28th, 29th and 30th. The strong mobilisation of September 16th was necessary and instrumental for reaching this conciliation in a very constrained calendar. Thank you to all of you!” 

The French ministry of transport has not yet commented on the above agreement or lifting of the strike.

The International Air Transport Association tweeted their support for the SNCTA’s decision to cancel further industrial action, calling Friday’s strike “unnecessary.”

The association also urged the European Union to implement a “Single European Sky.” This reform, which was put forward almost 20 years ago, has not yet reached fruition. It intends to shift the current system of air traffic organisation away from national borders and toward a “coherent zone” in order to reduce emissions and save both time and money.

The strike on September 16th left over 1,000 flights in France grounded, as well as widespread delays and over 2,400 flight cancellations across Europe. 

The SNCTA mobilised for wage increases due to the rising cost of living, in addition to an acceleration of recruitment in order to anticipate a wave of retirements. After Friday’s action, the union had called for further strikes from September 28th to 30th before reaching an agreement with their supervisory ministry. 

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