The fire started in the early afternoon, this Tuesday, September 7, 2021 in Chepniers. At 5 p.m., around ten hectares have already burned and the firefighters fear the risk of propagation, which is at its maximum in view of the meteorological situation. The southern zone of Charente-Maritime is classified in “severe risk” of fire because of the strong heat of these last days combined with the effects of the drought and the wind.

The start of the fire was detected by forest fire surveillance cameras and was then confirmed by several calls to the emergency services. Many firefighters (86 in total coming from all the south of the department) were very quickly mobilized. They were supported in their fight against the fire by three canadairs. The latter were already positioned in the area because of the severe fire risk established by SDIS 17. In this context, they regularly carry out surveillance flights, each on a pre-determined circuit. The pilot of one of them making a circuit around Montendre spotted the fire. Six water drops were quickly organized, each water bomber aircraft made two rotations in flight.

Thanks to this rapid emergency response, the fire was fixed during the afternoon, ten hectares of forest burned in total. The 86 men engaged in the field will continue to fight against the risks of propagation until this evening and then an on-site surveillance will be established for the night.

This is the first major fire to have broken out in the forests of the department during the summer of 2021. Firefighters indicate that the fire started on the side of a departmental road which may suggest that it could have been caused by a cigarette butt thrown out of a car. At present, the cause of the fire has not been officially established.

Related title :
Major forest fire in the south of Charente-Maritime
Numerous firefighters mobilized on a forest fire in the south of Charente-Maritime
Charente-Maritime: a fire destroyed 10 hectares of forest near Chepniers in the south of the department

Ref: https://france3-regions.francetvinfo.fr