• Julien Denormandie, the Minister of Agriculture, and Bérangère Abba, Secretary of State for Biodiversity, visited the Var on Tuesday.

  • This department was the scene of a violent fire which killed two people and destroyed more than 7,000 hectares of massif, including 1,000 of vines.

  • Actors from the local agricultural world had come up against the prohibitions imposed by the status of nature reserve in the fire sector.

The ministerial convoy arrived with a welcome thunderstorm in the Massif des Maures, in the Var, where a fire has covered just over 7,100 hectares in recent days. Visiting the scene of the disaster, Julien Denormandie, the Minister of Agriculture, and Bérangère Abba, Secretary of State for Biodiversity, first greeted the firefighters before going to a vineyard.

It is still time to assess the damage, but time is running out for the winegrowers, when the harvest was imminent.

“It is estimated that around a thousand hectares of vines were burnt and the number of estates affected by several dozen.

The priority in the wine sector is for the insurance system to be put in place, ”said Julien Denormandie.

A meeting with the representatives of the insurers was held in the afternoon in the prefecture, where the minister was able to ask them again to "play their role very quickly".

Coal to partly save the harvest

Thierry Nonjon, the winegrower where the visit took place, saw twelve of his twenty hectares affected. He does not yet know if he is going to harvest what can be saved. “An agricultural technician must pass, but I have a plot that is at temperature. If I don't harvest it this week, it's over, ”explains this Côtes-de-Provence producer. With an uncertain result, whatever happens: the thick smoke, the fallout of soot and the dropping of retardants by the firefighters will necessarily alter the taste of the grapes.

This is why Eric Pastorino, the president of the Côtes-de-Provence appellation, has done the necessary with the National Institute of Origin and Quality (Inao), a public body that manages PDOs and other AOCs. , to allow winegrowers to use a charcoal-based product that removes bad odors.

A solution that would allow the wine to be marketed while keeping its name.

The Côtes-de-Provence appellation covers nearly 20,000 hectares, mainly in the Var and Bouches-du-Rhône.

Turtles of wrath?

Beyond these viticultural aspects, farmers have shown themselves to be upset, in particular against the measures imposed by the qualification of national nature reserve of the Plaine des Maures, and representatives of the State present. Sylvain Audemard, president of the FDSEA of Var, regretted the absence of effective firewalls, the creation of which is prevented by the ban on mechanical brush clearing. A provision justified by the status of nature reserve but also by the presence, on this territory, of one of the last habitats of Hermann turtles, the only French species.

"We only ask to maintain our plots and clean our streams without having to fill out piles of files," he told the Minister and the Secretary of State.

Likewise, he deplored the abandonment for the same reasons of a project to extend the Canal de Provence which could bring water.

“There's an anger, I've never felt that in my department.

Because we knew that if there was a match, everything would go.

There is no water, no firewall, ”said a local representative.

"We must empower local elected officials," Sylvain Audemard said.

We had Nicolas Hulot and Didier Guillaume before, but things are not moving forward, we are going in circles on this subject.



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  • Julien Denormandie

  • Agriculture

  • Fire in the Var

  • Wine

  • Society