Seine and Marne. Fontainebleau, forest fire hazard: ONF, forest ranger

Equestrian team informs the public ©ONF

in Fontainebleau forest massif occupies almost 23 thousand ha. Known for its original landscapes based on sandstone cliffs and fine white sand, it is one of the most visited natural areas in France, with almost 1.5 million visitors a year. Whoever says forest is talking about fire. This wonderful array consists of flammable plant species such as eagle fern, calloons or even Scots pine. We are currently counting dozens of fires every yearbut burned areas compared to the beginning of the 20th centuryd century. The Forest of Fontainebleau therefore, it should be visited with caution. ONF, the National Forest Service, conducts daily surveillance, prevention and communication on fire risk prevention.

Various actors

with constancy transmitted by two agents held 36 weekends a year, from Easter to All Saints’ Day. Their task is simple – to observe violations and outbreaks of fire. Within a few years, the NFB was also created night patrols, which perform the role of police, but also surveillance with exits of fire. These patrols circulate from time to time when the fire risk is high. Another monitoring participant, equestrian team. Two NFB Riders roam around areas accessible by mount rather than transport, allowing agents to be completed on transport. “This brigade has an educational mission, as it raises public awareness. For violations, he directly calls the delivery agents,” he says Morgana Such, ONF Environmental and Public Reception Project Manager.

In addition to all these players, the NFB launched volunteering last year with “Owls” . The idea is for interested people to help raise awareness. Before they intervene in the forest, they are trained to deliver the right practical messages,” adds Morgan Sush. “Les Chouettes” aren’t the only ones who want to raise awareness. Indeed, the forest welcomes Tourist volunteers, a device that allows you to have volunteers to guide visitors. The only difference with “Les Chouettes” is that they are all young men educated in Ile-de-France.

Prevention and awareness

Surveillance and prevention are the watchwords of the NFB. Indeed, it must respond under all circumstances, especially in relation to the general public. » Most fires, i.e. 9 out of 10 fires, are caused by human carelessness. This may be due to a kindling on the ground or lighting a fire in a bivouac,” the head of the environmental project notes. To warn the public about the fire danger, ONF installed signs with the inscription “Caution, high fire danger, fire is prohibited.” Fifty panels are installed at the beginning of the busiest sections. “The idea is that they are temporary, meaning they are only installed during the risk period, between April and September, as a precaution,” Morgan admits. To prevent the risk of fire during hot weather, ONF is contacting volunteers, patrols and officers in vehicles to be ready to respond to the public. If necessary, SDIS can even place a tanker as close to the forest as possible to intervene at any moment. Finally, if the risk is high, the ONF may cancel certain sports or cultural activities, as well as stop mechanical activities (chainsaw, tractor, etc.). “In mid-June, we had to cancel sports and mechanical interventions. These types of decisions are made according to several factors such as temperature, drought or even wind,” explains Morgan.

Cooperation with SDIS 77

NFB works in cooperation with SDIS 77, because they are in the center of events. Several exchanges were made and agreements were reached. “We’ve been working with them for several years to build the infrastructure needed to facilitate their intervention,” Morgan explains.

A new cistern is installed in the forest of Fontainebleau
New cistern installed in Fontainebleau forest ©ONF

For example, access roads have been created to facilitate the passage of their trucks, but above all ONF is doing everything to ensure they have access to water. Recently, a tank of 3 m3 water cubes are installed, which become a local water supply point.

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