Firefighter seriously injured battling new wildfires in southern France

More wildfires broke out in southeastern France on Sunday, with 350 hectares burned in Gard where a firefighter was seriously injured.

Firefighter seriously injured battling new wildfires in southern France
Smoke from a wildfire near Aubais, southern France, caused the closure of the motorway. Photo by Benjamin GALY / AFP

A 35 hectare fire near near Marseille caused the partial closures of motorways.

“Four firefighters are injured,” announced Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin in a tweet about the fire which broke out around 3pm in a pine forest in the town of Aubais, south of Nimes.

One of them was “seriously injured” and had to be evacuated by helicopter to the Montpellier hospital centre for burns to the hands and face.

The others were more slightly injured following a reversal of the flames by the wind which partly destroyed their vehicle, Eric Agrinier, who coordinated the operations, told AFP.

Meanwhile fires in the Gironde département which broke out in mid July are still not fully extinguished, although they are contained and the famous sand dune Dune du Pilat has re-opened to visitors. Firefighters remain in the area to contain any new outbreaks. 

MAP Where are there wildfires in France right now

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Beluga whale in France’s Seine river dies during rescue attempt

The beluga whale trapped in France's Seine river has died, officials announced on Wednesday after a difficult attempt to rescue it.

Beluga whale in France's Seine river dies during rescue attempt

The beluga that made its way into France’s Seine river reportedly died during the rescue operation that began on Tuesday evening.

The whale was extracted from a lock on the Seine river on Tuesday night, but later died

“Despite an unprecedented rescue operation of the beluga, we are sad to announce the death of the cetacean,” said the prefecture of Calvados on its Twitter account Wednesday morning.

According to French daily Le Parisien, the whale was euthanised.

The rescue operation was reportedly complex, taking about six hours to get the 800 kg whale out of the water and involving at least 24 divers.

Once veterinarians were able to perform a health checkup, they were able to confirm that the animal was in poor health, and was no longer feeding.