The fire at the Canjuers military training camp (Var) destroyed 1,000 hectares of vegetation in three days, but remains contained within the limits of the camp, Var firefighters told AFP on Monday 20 June.
Monday evening, more than 320 civilian and military firefighters were still on site, to deal with the fire that was raging in this “plant desert” of grass and brush, in the words of Captain Olivier Pécot of Sdis du Var.
The emergency services mobilized significant air resources, two Dash and four Canadair, to drop retardant barriers on the ridges, until nightfall, “so that the fire remains within the limits of the military camp”according to Olivier Pécot.
A fire started by artillery fire
The fire started on Saturday around 9 a.m. inside a large French army training camp in the Var following artillery fire, in an area ” polluted “, that is, where there are shells and unexploded explosives, which delayed the intervention of the fire brigade for security reasons. It was indeed necessary to wait for the flames to come out of this firing perimeter to be able to intervene.
On Monday, the Marseille prosecutor’s office confirmed to AFP the opening of an investigation “of the count of involuntary destruction by fire”followed by the military prosecutor’s office.
Much of the fire remains very difficult to access and firefighters are being dropped off by helicopter. “But in the afternoon, with the sun and the wind reactivating, the fire resumes in places where there are no firefighters on the ground”explained Olivier Pécot.
A very isolated camp, far from the houses
Enjoy -50% the first year
by subscribing to L’Obs with Google
By choosing this promotional subscription path, you accept the deposit of an analysis cookie by Google.
Isolated, the military complex of Canjuers is located tens of kilometers from homes, which means that there is, according to Olivier Pécot, “no stake in terms of human activities”. Largest camp in Western Europe, the Canjuers military complex is “essential for the operational preparation of the French forces” and extends its 35,000 hectares on the high plateaus of northern Var, according to the Ministry of the Armed Forces.
As a precaution, however, the gendarmes block the road near the camp, a tourist route that leads to the Gorges du Verdon.