“I believe in new technologies to protect forests from fires,” says Lionel Montillo.

We have destroyed a little less than ten hectares. The fire was contained in a small area thanks to the efficiency of the rescuers. We took advantage of the air assets available from the fires in South Gironde, which immediately attacked the fire. This demonstrates that the strategy for extinguishing incipient fires works under the condition…

We have destroyed a little less than ten hectares. The fire was contained in a small area thanks to the efficiency of the rescuers. We took advantage of the air assets available from the fires in South Gironde, which immediately attacked the fire. This shows that the strategy of extinguishing emerging fires works if we have the means. There was no material damage and evacuation, which is positive.

This is your first term. How do you assess the fire risk in the forest municipality?

The city has a history of fires, as do nearby towns. Saint Helena survived major fires in 1989, 2002, 2004… I am a child of Saint Helena, this is culture. We know that a fire can happen. But inevitably, when you participate for the first time as an elect, you will not have a fire record registered in your election program. The support of the firefighters was decisive: the leaders of the center, the captains come to us at the beginning of the mandate to explain to us the procedure. The accompaniment of professionals is essential because, ultimately, the mayor must arbitrate when the municipality is in danger. We have also just updated the municipal protection plan, which allows us to respond in case of risk.


In Tossac (Saint-Hélène), fumaroles are still rising from the ground after a fire that devastated ten hectares on Tuesday, July 9th.

KS

What is woodland for your municipality?

Vital. At 127 km.² which make up Saint Helena, i.e. 13,000 hectares, 90% of which are pastures or forests. Many forest owners draw their resources from the massif, starting from the municipality itself, the leading producer, with 2400 ha. This amounts to between 300,000 and 500,000 euros of income per year: this is not insignificant with an operating budget of about 3 million. The rent allows you to maintain the city and forests, as well as to carry out certain investments. This is a long-term activity: every year we harvest the fruits of crops, mainly pine trees planted many years ago. There is a real bet to protecting the array.

How do you intend to manage the fire risk in the coming weeks?

Necessary preventive work is being carried out to avoid the occurrence of fires. We know that the vast majority of fires are caused by human action, intentional or not. It requires rigor in terms of uncontrolled urban planning such as wild camping, barbecues. We must also make it clear that the ban on cycling on cycle paths must be respected: not only because we are afraid of passers-by, but also for their safety, so that they are not trapped in case of a problem. . This is everyone’s responsibility.

At the municipality level, we also try to ensure that there is an adequate supply of beds or a refrigeration system, for example, in the event of an evacuation. We are also coordinating with elected officials to ensure a presence in the municipality during the summer. These are more immediate measures, but in the long term it will also be necessary to think about the scope of the Community of Communes. We must combine resources and actions, in particular DFCI (Editor’s note. Forest fire protection).

How do you see the future in the long term, when the fires are likely to repeat?