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When protection takes over fighting 

High velocity wind-driven fires facing dense habitat

Fire and Rescue Service of Bouches du Rhône

The department of Bouche du Rhône occupies an area of 523000 ha, composed of 119 municipalities hosting 2 005 000 inhabitants.

  • 170 000 ha and 110 municipalities are exposed to wildfire hazard

  • 199 780 constructions (over 20m²) located on forest border are categorized as subjected to STRONG, VERY STRONG or EXCEPTIONNAL wildfire hazard. This hazards level means likely to suffer serious damages.

  • Each year, the Fire and Rescue Service Of Bouches du Rhône deals with an average of 160 fires, burning 910 ha.

  • The landscape is composed with Mediterranean vegetation, mainly softwood and scrubland.

Exemple of Wildfire – Martigues – August 4th 2020

Weather conditions : NW wind 52 km/h average speed, 90 km/h gust

Burned area : 935 ha in 3h06

Fire spread : 2,6 km/h average speed, max 4,8 km/h

Damages : 72 housing impacted, 2 campsites totally burned

Resources : 50 strike team, 200 engines, 1000 firefighters, 200 partners (forest service, Police, etc.…)

Developing Wildfire analysis skills :

  • Team of 8 fire analysts and 25 végétation observers

  • Production of a forecast bulletin about predicted fire behaviour to help decision makers and inform strike teams and leaders

  • Wild fire analysis tools are used to design forest management.

  • Wildfire analyst in the Incident Command Post to help the IC understanding fire behaviour and building his fighting strategy


  • Every citizen becomes the first prevention actor of wildfires,

  • Self-protection of the housing through fuel suppression and pyro resistant built-in materials,

  • Permeability of the forest-city boundaries to improve self-protection by densifying the buildings and therefore requiring less operational resources for its safety when fire occurs,

  • Urban development regulation with enforceable territorial coherence scheme,

  • Forest management oriented by wildfire analysis to control fuel and facilitate fighting by creating more useful path,

  • Fighting adaptation by creating specific strike team devoted to housing protection.


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