French mayor claims WOLVES are to blame for devastating wildfires on the Riviera because sheep farmers are afraid of the animals and ‘give up’ maintaining the land


French mayor claims WOLVES are to blame for devastating wildfires on the Riviera because sheep farmers are afraid of the animals and ‘give up’ maintaining the land

 
29 July 2017

published byhttp://www.dailymail.co.uk


France –  The mayor of a commune in the South of France has said recent wildfires that devastated the area were caused partly by wolves.

He said a dramatic increase in the number of local canines had forced many sheep farmers to ‘give up’, resulting in tracts of land becoming untended and conducive to spreading flames.

‘There are more and more wolves,’ Gabriel Magne, the mayor of Artigues in Aude department, said.

‘A lot of sheep farmers have given up. This year the forest was not maintained, brush was not cleared and the dry vegetation is conducive to fires that start and spread more quickly than before,’ the Daily Telegraph reported.

Fires have caused mayhem in southern Europe, with more than 10,000 people – including celebrities and royalty – forced from homes, hotels and campsites in the middle of the night earlier this week.

They described pine trees ‘lit up like matches’ as the tinderbox forests at the back of the Riviera went up in flames.

Wolves were on the verge of dying out in France at the beginning of the 20th century but their population has tripled in recent years after many migrated from Italy.

More than 8,000 farm animals – mostly sheep – were killed by wolves in France last year, prompting the government to permit the slaughter of 40 wolves by July next year.

That represents about 10 per cent of the wolf population in the country.

Unsurprisingly, Mayor Magne was given support by local farmers, one of whom – Gilbert Villa – said: ‘We used to be paid for clearing brush with our sheep, but I gave up two years ago because of the wolves.’

Michel Meuret from the French Institute for Agricultural Research, meanwhile, said if the government gave farmers contracts to clear the brush then fires would spread much less quickly.

Yesterday two teenage boys appeared before a judge on suspicion of deliberately starting one of the wildfires that devastated parts of south-eastern France and Corsica last week.

Authorities warned that the danger is far from over even though they have tamed most of the blazes that scorched over 7,000 hectares (17,300 acres) of land, destroyed homes and forced the evacuation of thousands in the worst fires France has seen in more than a decade.

The boys, both aged 16, were stopped on Wednesday by police who believed that arson was the cause of the blaze in Carro, west of Marseille, where 150 hectares (370 acres) of land were burnt.

The man in charge of the Riviera-Provence-Alps council said the ‘main problem’ is that so many fires have been started on purpose.

He added: ‘It’s incredibly destructive and the criminals responsible should face severe penalties.’

An international team of climate researchers from the US, South Korea and the UK has developed a new wildfire and drought prediction model for southwestern North America. Extending far beyond the current seasonal forecast, this study published in the journal Scientific Reports could benefit the economies with a variety of applications in agriculture, water management and forestry.

Over the past 15 years, California and neighboring regions have experienced heightened conditions and an increase in numbers with considerable impacts on human livelihoods, agriculture, and terrestrial ecosystems. This new research shows that in addition to a discernible contribution from natural forcings and human-induced global warming, the large-scale difference between Atlantic and Pacific ocean temperatures plays a fundamental role in causing droughts, and enhancing wildfire risks.

“Our results document that a combination of processes is at work. Through an ensemble modeling approach, we were able to show that without anthropogenic effects, the droughts in the southwestern United States would have been less severe,” says co-author Axel Timmermann, Director of the newly founded IBS Center for Climate Physics, within the Institute for Basics Science (IBS), and Distinguished Professor at Pusan National University in South Korea. “By prescribing the effects of man-made climate change and observed global ocean temperatures, our model can reproduce the observed shifts in weather patterns and wildfire occurrences.”

Read more at:https://phys.org/news/2017-07-atlanticpacific-ocean-temperature-difference-fuels.html#jCpAn international team of climate researchers from the US, South Korea and the UK has developed a new wildfire and drought prediction model for southwestern North America. Extending far beyond the current seasonal forecast, this study published in the journal Scientific Reports could benefit the economies with a variety of applications in agriculture, water management and forestry.  

Over the past 15 years, California and neighboring regions have experienced heightened conditions and an increase in numbers with considerable impacts on human livelihoods, agriculture, and terrestrial ecosystems. This new research shows that in addition to a discernible contribution from natural forcings and human-induced global warming, the large-scale difference between Atlantic and Pacific ocean temperatures plays a fundamental role in causing droughts, and enhancing wildfire risks.

“Our results document that a combination of processes is at work. Through an ensemble modeling approach, we were able to show that without anthropogenic effects, the droughts in the southwestern United States would have been less severe,” says co-author Axel Timmermann, Director of the newly founded IBS Center for Climate Physics, within the Institute for Basics Science (IBS), and Distinguished Professor at Pusan National University in South Korea. “By prescribing the effects of man-made climate change and observed global ocean temperatures, our model can reproduce the observed shifts in weather patterns and wildfire occurrences.”

Read more at:https://phys.org/news/2017-07-atlanticpacific-ocean-temperature-difference-fuels.html#jCp


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