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Pierre Chicha, a firefighter from the sky facing fire

Pierre Chicha, pilot of Canadair, is also the head of this sector on the civil security base located in Nîmes-Garons. Laurent Theillet/AFP

PORTRAIT – Mobilized on the front lines of ever more frequent fires, the head of the Nîmes civil security base tells us about the requirements of this very high-risk work.

More than 20,000 hectares of forest have burned in recent days in Gironde (as we close this edition). The situation has deteriorated considerably and the fires, in the areas of La Teste-de-Buch and Landiras, continue to progress. They have been reclassified as megafires by the authorities. On the ground, more than 1,500 firefighters are mobilized. Also on the front line, the Canadairs and these pilots who have been working tirelessly for days to contain the flames that are devouring the vegetation. Pierre Chicha, pilot of Canadair, is also the head of this sector on the civil security base located in Nîmes-Garons. This former fighter pilot, who joined the Air Force at the age of 18, chose to join other soldiers, those of fire, at the controls of these very special planes.

“The Nîmes base has twelve Canadairs, six Dash (eight by 2023) and three Beechcraft. The Canadairs scoop up to 6 tons of water in less than twelve seconds, says Pierre Chicha

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