Manon Bernard 5:09 p.m., August 19, 2021

In the Massif des Maures, in the Var, the fire is still not under control. And the damage to flora and fauna is already glaring: nearly 80% of the nature reserve has burned down. The deputy director of the French biodiversity office in the region, Concha Agero and the national fire manager at the ONF, Jean-Louis Pestour, detail the consequences of the fire on Europe 1.  

Since the start of the biggest summer fire in France, nearly 80% of the Massif des Maures nature reserve, in the hinterland of Saint-Tropez, has burned down.

A catastrophic situation as much for the fauna as the flora which abounds in this region known for its forests of cork oaks but also of umbrella pines.

The deputy director of the French office for biodiversity in Paca and Corsica, Concha Agero and the national fire manager at the National Forestry Office (ONF), Jean-Louis Pestour, made an inventory of the consequences of the fire on Europe 1, Thursday.

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Jean-Louis Pestour's answer is surprising to say the least: nothing.

"The logic of reforestation that we have known in the last century is currently abandoned," says the national forest fires manager at the ONF.

For him, it is necessary "to let nature take its course, to ensure that the plants in place regenerate themselves in a natural way".

Some plantations will still be planned "in very emblematic places where there are specific landscape or environmental aspects", he adds.

The animals will have to get used to a new habitat

The devastating fire also killed a large part of the fauna that inhabits the Massif des Maures. Concha Agero, interregional deputy director in Paca and Corsica at the French biodiversity office, went to visit the site to assess the extent of the damage. "In our misfortune, we are lucky to have pockets of green vegetation that have been saved because the fire has passed so quickly over this area that it has had huge swings, sometimes up to 300 to 400 meters ", she explains. In the burnt forest, his teams found three living Hermann's turtles, the last wild present in the Var and Corsica. They were holed up in the rocks due to the heat and therefore protected from the fire. Corn "they will need a certain time to readjust to this new habitat which is no longer the one it has known, ”she warns.

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In this protected space thanks to the presence of this turtle, there are also other animals.

"Macro-insectivorous birds, but also insects and bats. We have other reptiles such as snakes or ocellated and green lizards", explains Concha Agero.

"The development of the vegetation will be quite slow"

But we will have to be patient for the damage to subside. In the Mediterranean region, rainfall is quite low. "The development of the vegetation will be quite slow", warns Jean-Louis Pestour. He expects at least thirty to forty years. This estimate is only valid if other fires do not reoccur in the area. Unfortunately, according to the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the state of the Earth, extreme climatic events, including forest fires, are likely to increase in the coming years.

To prevent the risk of forest fires, Jean-Louis Pestour warns on Europe 1: "We suspect a cigarette butt, like many fires this season. We must remind all our fellow citizens that a cigarette butt is a hot spot. In drought conditions and with gusty wind, it can be a fire start. " "The slightest input of heat in a forest area can generate a catastrophic fire," he summarizes.

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