Angry French firefighters raise the alarm


Huge forest fires in the north of the French Mediterranean island of Corsica this weekend destroyed more than 2,000 hectares (about 5,000 acres) of vegetation, as blazes continue to unfold in southern France amid exceptionally dry conditions. In late July, an estimated 7,500 hectares of countryside were devastated by wildfires, mostly in the Provence region, stretching the fire services to their limit. While President Emmanuel Macron and his prime minister, Edouard Philippe, have heaped praise on the efficiency and courage of France’s firefighters, many of the latter are angry that the country’s fire services are depleted by budget cuts, with insufficient and ageing equipment and a shortfall in their numbers. Elsa Sabado travelled to the Var département, the worst hit by the wildfires, to hear their complaints.

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It was 8 a.m. on Tuesday July 25th and Samuel had worked the night as duty officer at his fire station.  Now he was to set off to relay his colleagues who had spent their night battling the flames that for several days had been consuming hectare upon hectare of the forests in the Var département of the Provence region in south-east France.