Wednesday, 15 July 2009


The wind brings with it its own problems in Corsica. Sure, your washing dries in about 10 minutes flat and it doesn’t feel so hot when you’re out and about sightseeing or relaxing on the beach, but by July the Maquis is as dry as tinder and it only takes one careless cigarette to destroy hectares of beautiful countryside in a matter of hours.

Since the start of the summer, about 50 hectares of Maquis have been destroyed by fire, so we now have two ‘bombardiers d’eau’ (water bombers) stationed at Corte and a fleet of Canadairs which are dinky brightly coloured planes that skim the sea picking up water which they then jettison over the fires.

We are lucky enough to live under the route for the water collection in the bay at Baracci. Some may not think that lucky is the right word, but it is absolutely fascinating to watch them swooping down behind the hills and then appearing again as they pick up water and zoom off. I have always been terrified of being mistaken for a seal (or sadly a whale) while swimming, but I’ve been assured that the hole isn’t big enough to pick up anything larger than the odd small fish. I wasn’t quite sure how to take that!

About the Canadairs;
  • Canadairs have a water Capacity of 6130 litres
  • They can make an average of 6 to 10 drops per hour according to the distance between the fire and the water
  • Their speed of water collection is 75 knots (135 kph)
  • It takes 10 to 12 seconds to fill the plane with 6 tons of water
  • The maximum height of the waves to be able to bail out is 1.5 meters
  • They can drop 30/35 meters at a speed of 110 knots (200 kph)

This week with the hot Scirroco wind we’ve had, 250 firefighters have been on full alert. You can often see them sunbathing on top of their trucks – a bit of an attraction in itself!

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