by Marjolene Marg
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“This is an incomprehensible experience. Images do not transcribe what we actually live. It seems that the flame is big, but in reality it is huge.” About thirty in recent weeks Orna fire department were mobilized for the fire in the south of the country.
Three brigades were sent to the south
Letizia Trassard, head of the rescue center L’Aigle (Orne)one of Orn’s firefighters who helped his colleagues in Gar and Gironde.
She commanded two of the three teams that went to the South: one in Gars and two in Gironde. “It is in these moments that we understand that we are not much without each other,” she admits.
Before leaving the captain just trained as a Head of the forest fire suppression group. “It’s great training, a great set of tools, but there’s also the reality on the ground. We are responsible for 22 people and all the equipment involved. It leaves a certain seriousness.
Forest fire specialists
If the firefighters involved had only one hour to prepare for the exit to the Gironde, planning for forest fire reinforcements is carried out upstream.
“Ahead of the start of the season, we are saying that Orne firefighters will be available from June 15 to September 15 to deal with bushfires because we know this is a risk at this time of year. This allows us to plan for reinforcements that we can send if needed,” the captain says, before stressing that “only ‘firefighters who have received fire safety training’ can leave.
All rescue centers that go for reinforcements go with their equipment. In total, this is a convoy of seven units of equipment, including special equipment for fighting forest fires, which has arrived in the south.
“With the heavyweights, it took us almost 19 hours to get down.”
The Orne fire department is part of the West of France group. So they joined their colleague Sartois at Le Mans before joining the South. “Finally, we are forming a group of 22 firefighters from the western part of France, which consists of two semi-groups of 11 people each. One from Orne, the other from Sart.”
In Gironde, a team under the command of Captain Letizia Trassard was mobilized to fire Test de Busch, which devastated more than 7 thousand hectares of land. Then the firefighters worked in the order of the mission. “The mission is the sector assigned to us. This is a sensitive area with houses, for example. We must quickly take a stand to save them.”
Among the missions assigned to the Orne/Sart team was the protection of five campsites on the Dune du Pil. “When we left, the campsites were full. But then the wind returned, and the flames destroyed them. Fires move so fast with the wind.”
In Gironde, the two teams replaced each other from July 7 to 23. The day during which firefighters “went beyond the limits”. “These are very intense missions. We sleep very little. Only two or three hours. But even if we are tired, the body adapts because we want to preserve this region,” emphasizes Letitia Trassar. “When we are on earth, we hide everything else. We must be focused on the mission, especially when the fire is coming at us. »
As the leader of the group, you have no room for error. In my head, I took 22 people with me, I am going to take them home. When you complete a mission, you move on to the next and so on.
After this “unusual” experience, the firefighters returned transformed. “This is an experience that will remain forever. It also made it possible to create a connection in the team, with people from different barracks. There was group unity and that allowed us to overcome everything that happened to us.”
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