Nearly 5,000 hectares of forest near Pilat dune were devoured by the flames, fanned by the strong heat that the south-west has been experiencing for several days (42°C in Gironde on Monday) and a highly unstable wind, which gives difficulties to the firemen. These extreme weather conditions explain why the firemen have been fighting the fire for a week already.
Over the whole of the Gironde department, more than 15,000 hectares of vegetation have already been consumed.
Evacuation of holidaymakers, residents... and animals!
Since the beginning of the fires on Tuesday 12 July, 32,000 people have had to be evacuated in the department, including more than 8,500 on Monday 18 July alone in La Teste-de-Buch.
6,000 holidaymakers were evacuated from the foot of the Dune du Pilat on the night of Wednesday 13 to Thursday 14 July.
Some of the 800 animals from the Bassin d'Arcachon zoo, located in La Teste, were taken to the Pessac zoo, near Bordeaux, to avoid the toxic fumes.
The five campsites in Pilat are "90% destroyed
The prefect of Gironde Fabienne Bucci confirmed on Monday: the five campsites of Teste-de-Buch located at the level of the dune of Pilat, were destroyed at 90%.
Despite the actions of a large number of firemen, the infrastructures quickly caught fire. The flames hit the campers' gas bottles, causing loud bangs to be heard throughout the surrounding area.
Fortunately, the campsites had evacuated their holidaymakers and employees, so there were no casualties.
Here is the list of campsites affected by the fire on Monday 18 July:
Panorama du Pyla ****
The very beautiful Panorama du Pyla campsite offered the opportunity to discover the immense fine sandy beaches of the Dune du Pilat, the huts and the oyster ports. It was located in the heart of a magnificent pine forest, which has now disappeared. On 19 July, the campsite team posted on its website: "For many of you, this represents several decades of holidays, laughter and children's games; for our family, our teams, it is the destruction of several generations of work, 40 years of meetings and sharing. Fortunately, for the time being, the main thing has been spared: our holidaymakers and colleagues are all safe and sound thanks to the courage of the firemen.
Le Petit Nice ****
In the middle of the pine forest, Le Petit Nice campsite offered direct access to long sandy beaches. This campsite in a very protected natural environment was emblematic of the Capfun group in terms of landscape integration and vegetation.
La Forêt du Pilat ***
Located in the heart of nature, La Forêt du Pilat campsite is ideally situated at the foot of the immense Pilat Dune. It seduces by its tranquillity, its family spirit and its environment.
La Dune ***
La Dune campsite is the emblematic Camping des Flots Bleus, which was used as a set for the film "Camping".
Pyla camping ***
This 386 pitch campsite has not been spared either.
2022 holidays going up in smoke
No pun intended.
Holidaymakers who had planned a stay at one of these campsites in the next few weeks will of course be reimbursed. However, they will have to find a new holiday destination, which will prove complicated as campsites in France have been fully booked this year.
Concern for the Dune
The forest is essential for the Dune du Pilat, as it maintains and protects it. But part of this forest is still burning.
Let's hope that in addition to the ecological disaster with thousands of hectares of pine trees burnt, the Dune du Pilat, one of the most visited emblematic places in the West of France, can be stabilised.