The community of twenty-two watchtowers dotting this forest in Gironde in southern France is the primary line of defence towards wildfires, which might start with only a wisp of smoke on the horizon. Escutia, a former shifting firm proprietor, has a contract with the hearth service to work up within the tower for six months, over the summer time fireplace season, however he additionally works outdoors of his contract as a volunteer. He’s in his fourth yr on the hearth service. When the July blaze was actually unhealthy, a handful of instances Escutia completed his shift on the tower at 10pm and joined the firefighters on the frontline at midnight for a shift till 7am, then returned to the watchtower at 10am. “I did not sleep very a lot,” he stated, with a smile.