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Fire July 23, 2009

Posted by gordonwatts in life, Marseille.
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Wow. I’ve never seen a forest fire up close. But the calanque behind Luminy were burning yesterday. It has been very hot and everything is very dry and yesterday was quite windy – perfect conditions. Luminy is where CPPM, the lab I’m working at here in the south of France, is located:

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The #1 marker is where the building I work in is located, and the #2 is the approximate location of the fire – quite close! Most of the region is a protected national park, so I couldn’t really get very close to the actual fire – perhaps a good thing – but I do have decent resolution on my camera:

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At the start of the day we couldn’t even see that there was a fire other than this helicopter kept hovering over the area. But in the afternoon they got serious and a whole slew of airplanes started arriving every 15 minutes to drop water on the fire:

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These planes are pretty cool – they fly over to the sea – very close buy – and scoop up sea water. They never land – they just fly right above the water and use their speed to fill their tank. It must be quite difficult to keep the plane at the right altitude as it gains all that weight.

The smoke was impressive – covered the city and made for a nice sunset. This morning there is still smoke – and the fire wasn’t out yet (apparently under control, however). 480 people are fighting it in the air and on the ground. Wow.

Update: Some houses burned (no one hurt), the road to Cassis was temporarily closed too. I saw someone’s pictures who was living quite close to the fire. Flickr has some good pictures of the fire as well.

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Comments»

1. robert - August 1, 2009

Wow, beautiful pictures Gordon. When it is over you should go searching for some after-forest-fire photos, the scenes can be amazing. But bottom line, I am sad to see the Calanques burning.

2. Harbles - August 3, 2009

You refer to the CL-215 Water bomber, Made In Canada.

Sorry national pride and all.

3. Harbles - August 3, 2009
4. gordonwatts - August 3, 2009

Yes – that is exactly it. My wife, who is Canadian, often points this out. I just flew out of the Marseille airport the other day and I saw 7 of these guys sitting on the tarmak.


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