Fire Spreads in German National Park, Battle Against Blaze Goes On

Fire crews are continuing to battle a blaze in eastern Germany’s Saxon Switzerland national park after the forest fire spread further.

Thomas Kunz, spokesman for the regional council of the Saxon Switzerland park, said on Friday that pockets of fire were discovered on Thursday evening and extinguished beyond the Kirnitzsch tributary to the River Elbe, which firefighters had hoped would act as an natural barrier to the fire.

More than 220 firefighters were battling the flames in the morning, with additional forces expected to arrive from other parts of the country during the day.

Seven firefighting helicopters are deployed with two helicopters carrying out reconnaissance flights with thermal imaging cameras.

Two more helicopters will be sent over the weekend to help extinguish the flames, and satellite images will be evaluated.

Some 250 hectares of forested area are burning, according to the authorities.

A fire in southern Brandenburg, also in the country’s east, is now under control, local authorities said. It prompted the evacuation of around 700 people earlier this week.

Rain showers on Saturday were not enough to keep the flames at bay.

The fire broke out last weekend in the Bohemian Switzerland national park in the Czech Republic and spread to the Saxon Switzerland park on Monday.

A disaster alert has been in effect in the spa town of Bad Schandau in Saxon Switzerland since Tuesday.

Scientists say climate change is making heatwaves around the world more frequent and more intense, increasing the risk of fires.

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