Cher: Firefighters recover from grueling Red Saturday

211 hectares of crops (barley) and undergrowth went up in smoke on Saturday, in Aubigny-sur-Nère in particular or even Lissay-Lochy. The Cher firefighters had to fight nine simultaneous fires in the department this weekend A direct consequence of global warming now clearly visible.

Very early fires this year. Farmers take precautions when they harvest, but we still have to do better, explains Colonel Rémy Andriot, deputy director of the SDIS du Cher: “We have been working with them for a few years now so that they have a stubble cultivator and a water tanker in the fields they are harvesting. This is very important because it can help limit the spread of the fire before it gets too big. The stubble cultivator allows the earth to be turned over to cut off the spread of the flames and allow us to arrive on site.”

The Cher SDIS is increasingly equipped with four-wheel drive vehicles. © Radio France
Michael Benoit

Combines can start a serious fire quickly. “All it takes is a spark knocking on a flint to set the field ablaze.” says Colonel Andriot. A shard of bottle can also make a magnifying glass and set the brush ablaze. Obviously, do not throw away your cigarette butts.

Each outbreak of fire leads to the mobilization of significant resources.It is necessary to strike hard and quickly to avoid a generalization of the fire. We mobilize at least four vehicles and around twenty firefighters for each outbreak of fire and we adapt the means according to the evolution of the situation. The difficulty is the repetition of these events which greatly tires the men. Especially since these fires arrive very early this year with this heat wave which favors them. You can imagine, we mobilized 300 men simultaneously out of a workforce of 1,500 firefighters in the Cher. It’s really a lot. Fortunately, it was a Saturday and we had more volunteers available.

A videoconference is organized every morning with different departments to adapt the means when the risk of fire is very high.
A videoconference is organized every morning with different departments to adapt the means when the risk of fire is very high.
TF1/SDIS of Cher

New this year, every morning, when the risk is high, the Cher firefighters organize a video conference to assess the means to be put on alert. “At 9:30 a.m., every morning, we take stock with Météo France, the prefecture, the chamber of agriculture, the national forest office as well, to adapt the alert system as well as possible according to the risk.” The equipment must also evolve with no more all-road or even all-terrain trucks.

These vehicles
These “conventional” two-wheel drive vehicles are not suitable for fighting vegetation fires © Radio France
Michael Benoit

The body spirit for those exhausting days is also very important. The departmental union of firefighters is there to maintain it. Its president, Commander Michel Soudy. “We are more effective when we know each other well. We are here to organize unifying events where camaraderie reigns. It creates cohesion. It is inseparable from operational activity.“80% of the workforce in Cher are volunteer firefighters.

We wish to thank the writer of this short article for this remarkable web content

Cher: Firefighters recover from grueling Red Saturday