Sixty firefighters train on a fictitious fire in the Lignon gorges

A large-scale maneuver took place at the foot of the Himalayan gateway on Friday evening. Firefighters from the east of the department coordinated their interventions to control a fictitious forest fire of 30 hectares.

Since last year, the risk of forest fires has gone up a notch in the Haute-Loire department. The probability of this type of fire has become a “common risk”, which requires all firefighters to be trained in this specialty. The departmental fire and rescue service (Sdis) has given itself 5 years to achieve this objective. Friday evening was a first for some of the 60 firefighters involved in the big maneuver in the Eastern group.A command post was set up near the RN 88, in Yverras, commune of Saint-Maurice-Lignon.

Residents had been warned of the organization of this full-scale exercise, thanks to notes left in mailboxes. A precaution to avoid unnecessary worry. Because between 7 and 10 p.m., the work of the 60 firefighters and 20 engines did not go unnoticed. Especially since a command post, a remote swimming pool of 10,000 liters and a team of drones, were positioned at the old RN 88, near the place called Les Yverras, commune of Saint-Maurice-de-Lignon and that pumping in a natural environment was simulated.

“The objective is to prepare for the forest fire campaign by coordinating a large-scale intervention,” indicates Commander Mathieu Lartaud, head of the eastern Haute-Loire firefighters group.

The fictional fire scenario was based on a fire that actually happened in the same corridor in the 1980s, proof that it can happen again. “We are here to prepare ourselves, but also to know the sector and its access routes,” specifies the officer.The sub-prefect of Yssingeaux Fabrice Bonicel attended the exercise from the command post where Colonel Guillaume Ottavi, deputy director of Sdis 43, the head of the Eastern group Commander Mathieu Lartaud and the weather expert from Sdis 43, Vincent Rodier.

The maneuver was sequenced in three stages. During the first hour, two forest fire groups, each made up of 4 engines, were placed in preventive position in order to review safety procedures. They were, secondly, engaged on a fictitious fire with hose establishments over hundreds of meters in the woods to mark out and contain the edges. The continuation of the scenario led them to create a support line at the access road to the colony. “This consists of putting all means at a meeting point with the fire to project a very large quantity of water at the same time.” The aim of the operation was to protect around thirty hectares of conifers, scrub and pine forests.

The firefighters manipulated hoses filled with water throughout the exercise, in order to confront the physical aspect of the intervention. For an obvious reason to save resources, the lances were opened for only around thirty seconds, at the time of the peak extinction.

Around 600 firefighters will be trained in the specialty of forest fires over the next 4 years in Haute-Loire.

Celine Demars

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