|Source elevation||±1500 m|
|Avg. discharge||15 m³/s|
|Basin area||1,350 km²|
The Hers-Vif ("Live Hers", as opposed to the slower flowing Hers-Mort, "Dead Hers"), also named Grand Hers or simply Hers, is a 135 km long river in Southern France, right tributary of the Ariège River.
The Hers-Vif rises at a height of ±1500 m near the Chioula Pass of the Pyrenees, approximately 6 km north of Ax-les-Thermes. It is the major tributary of the Ariège into whose right bank it flows 2 km upstream from Cintegabelle in the Haute-Garonne.
It flows some 30 kilometers through the Pyrenees, descending 1100 m to the village of Peyrat which it reaches a piedmont plain. Its valley widens as it traverses the plain, reaching the medieval city of Mirepoix which marks the start of its lower valley.
Several rivers flow into it:
- From the Pyrenees: the Lasset; the Fontaine de Fontestorbes; the Touyre
- From the piedmont plain and hills: the Blau and the Douctouyre;
- From the hills of Lauragais and Razès: the Ambronne and the Vixiège.
Departments and towns along its course are:
- Ariège: Prades, Bélesta, La Bastide-sur-l'Hers, Mirepoix, Mazères
- Aude: Comus, Chalabre
- Haute-Garonne: Calmont
The Hers is probably known as vif (intense or rapid in this context) because of its sometimes spectacular floods - that of June 16, 1289 having entirely destroyed Mirepoix. More recently, there have been:
- 23 June 1875: estimated flow rate of 1500 m3/s at Mazères;
- 6 February 1919: estimated flow rate of 600–800 m3/s at Mazères;
- 19 May 1977: estimated flow rate of 1070 m3/s at Mazères;
- 16 January 1981: estimated flow rate of 1100 m3/s at Mazères;
- 11 June 2000: estimated flow rate of 500 m3/s at Mazères;
- 24 January 2004: estimated flow rate of 500 m3/s at Mazères.
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