European firefighters join battle to stop French wildfires

Aug 11, 2022, 2:16 PM | Updated: Aug 12, 2022, 7:37 am
A firefighting helicopter fights a forest fire near Schierke, central Germany, Friday, Aug. 12, 202...

A firefighting helicopter fights a forest fire near Schierke, central Germany, Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. In the Harz National Park, hundreds of emergency personnel are fighting a major forest fire. (Julian Stratenschulte/dpa via AP)

(Julian Stratenschulte/dpa via AP)

              A firefighting helicopter fights a forest fire near Schierke, central Germany, Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. In the Harz National Park, hundreds of emergency personnel are fighting a major forest fire. (Julian Stratenschulte/dpa via AP)
            
              A transport vessel passes the Rheinturm (Rhine Tower) in Duesseldorf, Germany, Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. The persistent drought makes the level of the Rhine fall further and further, navigation is only possible to a limited extent. The river levels continue to fall and bring a burden on shipping and nature. (Christoph Reichwein/dpa via AP)
            
              A cargo ship sails on the river Rhine between Cologne and Duesseldorf in Germany, Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. The persistent drought makes the level of the Rhine fall further and further, navigation is only possible to a limited extent. The river levels continue to fall and bring a burden on shipping and nature. (Christoph Reichwein/dpa via AP)
            
              A transport vessel drives on the river Rhine in Dormagen, Germany, Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. The persistent drought makes the level of the Rhine fall further and further, navigation is only possible to a limited extent. The river levels continue to fall and bring a burden on shipping and nature. (Federico Gambarini/dpa via AP)
            
              A tourist checks his mobile as others take photographs of Tower Bridge on South banks on the river Thames, in London, England, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022. Heatwaves and prolonged dry weather are damaging landscapes, gardens and wildlife, the National Trust has warned. Britain is braced for another heatwave that will last longer than July's record-breaking hot spell, with highs of up to 35 degrees Celsius expected next week. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
            
              A tree is half burnt in the Wanstead Flats after a grass fire, in London, Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. Heatwaves and prolonged dry weather are damaging landscapes, gardens and wildlife, the National Trust has warned. Britain is braced for another heatwave that will last longer than July's record-breaking hot spell, with highs of up to 35 degrees Celsius expected next week. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
            
              An Epping Forest sign stands on burnt ground in the Wanstead Flats after a grass fire, in London, Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. Heatwaves and prolonged dry weather are damaging landscapes, gardens and wildlife, the National Trust has warned. Britain is braced for another heatwave that will last longer than July's record-breaking hot spell, with highs of up to 35 degrees Celsius expected next week. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
            
              The burnt ground in the Wanstead Flats after a grass fire, in London, Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. Heatwaves and prolonged dry weather are damaging landscapes, gardens and wildlife, the National Trust has warned. Britain is braced for another heatwave that will last longer than July's record-breaking hot spell, with highs of up to 35 degrees Celsius expected next week. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
            
              This photo provided by the fire brigade of the Gironde region SDIS 33, (Departmental fire and rescue service 33) shows fire engines from Romania being unloaded from a transporter plane arriving at the airport in Mérignac near Bordeaux, southwestern France early Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. Other European countries have been sending in resources to assist in tackling the wildfires in the Gironde. (SDIS 33 via AP)
            
              A transport vessel passes the Rheinturm (Rhine Tower) in Duesseldorf, Germany, Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. The persistent drought makes the level of the Rhine fall further and further, navigation is only possible to a limited extent. The river levels continue to fall and bring a burden on shipping and nature. (Christoph Reichwein/dpa via AP)
            
              A cargo ship sails on the river Rhine between Cologne and Duesseldorf in Germany, Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. The persistent drought makes the level of the Rhine fall further and further, navigation is only possible to a limited extent. The river levels continue to fall and bring a burden on shipping and nature. (Christoph Reichwein/dpa via AP)
            
              A transport vessel drives on the river Rhine in Dormagen, Germany, Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. The persistent drought makes the level of the Rhine fall further and further, navigation is only possible to a limited extent. The river levels continue to fall and bring a burden on shipping and nature. (Federico Gambarini/dpa via AP)
            
              A tourist checks his mobile as others take photographs of Tower Bridge on South banks on the river Thames, in London, England, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022. Heatwaves and prolonged dry weather are damaging landscapes, gardens and wildlife, the National Trust has warned. Britain is braced for another heatwave that will last longer than July's record-breaking hot spell, with highs of up to 35 degrees Celsius expected next week. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
            
              A tree is half burnt in the Wanstead Flats after a grass fire, in London, Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. Heatwaves and prolonged dry weather are damaging landscapes, gardens and wildlife, the National Trust has warned. Britain is braced for another heatwave that will last longer than July's record-breaking hot spell, with highs of up to 35 degrees Celsius expected next week. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
            
              An Epping Forest sign stands on burnt ground in the Wanstead Flats after a grass fire, in London, Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. Heatwaves and prolonged dry weather are damaging landscapes, gardens and wildlife, the National Trust has warned. Britain is braced for another heatwave that will last longer than July's record-breaking hot spell, with highs of up to 35 degrees Celsius expected next week. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
            
              The burnt ground in the Wanstead Flats after a grass fire, in London, Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. Heatwaves and prolonged dry weather are damaging landscapes, gardens and wildlife, the National Trust has warned. Britain is braced for another heatwave that will last longer than July's record-breaking hot spell, with highs of up to 35 degrees Celsius expected next week. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
            
              This photo provided by the fire brigade of the Gironde region SDIS 33, (Departmental fire and rescue service 33) shows fire engines from Romania being unloaded from a transporter plane arriving at the airport in Mérignac near Bordeaux, southwestern France early Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. Other European countries have been sending in resources to assist in tackling the wildfires in the Gironde. (SDIS 33 via AP)
            
              A tourist checks his mobile as others take photographs of Tower Bridge on South banks on the river Thames, in London, England, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022. Heatwaves and prolonged dry weather are damaging landscapes, gardens and wildlife, the National Trust has warned. Britain is braced for another heatwave that will last longer than July's record-breaking hot spell, with highs of up to 35 degrees Celsius expected next week. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
            
              A tree is half burnt in the Wanstead Flats after a grass fire, in London, Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. Heatwaves and prolonged dry weather are damaging landscapes, gardens and wildlife, the National Trust has warned. Britain is braced for another heatwave that will last longer than July's record-breaking hot spell, with highs of up to 35 degrees Celsius expected next week. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
            
              An Epping Forest sign stands on burnt ground in the Wanstead Flats after a grass fire, in London, Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. Heatwaves and prolonged dry weather are damaging landscapes, gardens and wildlife, the National Trust has warned. Britain is braced for another heatwave that will last longer than July's record-breaking hot spell, with highs of up to 35 degrees Celsius expected next week. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
            
              The burnt ground in the Wanstead Flats after a grass fire, in London, Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. Heatwaves and prolonged dry weather are damaging landscapes, gardens and wildlife, the National Trust has warned. Britain is braced for another heatwave that will last longer than July's record-breaking hot spell, with highs of up to 35 degrees Celsius expected next week. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
            
              This photo provided by the fire brigade of the Gironde region SDIS 33, (Departmental fire and rescue service 33) shows fire engines from Romania being unloaded from a transporter plane arriving at the airport in Mérignac near Bordeaux, southwestern France early Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. Other European countries have been sending in resources to assist in tackling the wildfires in the Gironde. (SDIS 33 via AP)
            
              This photo provided by the fire brigade of the Gironde region SDIS 33, (Departmental fire and rescue service 33) shows a plane taking to the air as part of the operation to tackle a wildfires near Saint-Magne, south of Bordeaux, southwestern France, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022. (SDIS 33 via AP)
            
              This photo provided by the fire brigade of the Gironde region SDIS 33, (Departmental fire and rescue service 33) shows an aerial view of a blaze near Saint-Magne, south of Bordeaux, southwestern France, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022. (SDIS 33 via AP)
            
              This photo provided by the fire brigade of the Gironde region SDIS 33, (Departmental fire and rescue service 33) shows firefighters on a track next to the smoldering remains of a blaze near Saint-Magne, south of Bordeaux, southwestern France, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022. (SDIS 33 via AP)
            
              This photo provided by the fire brigade of the Gironde region SDIS 33, (Departmental fire and rescue service 33) shows firefighters on a road next to the smoldering remains of a blaze near Saint-Magne, south of Bordeaux, southwestern France, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022. (SDIS 33 via AP)
            
              This photo provided by the fire brigade of the Gironde region SDIS 33, (Departmental fire and rescue service 33) shows the charred remains of a forest after a blaze near Saint-Magne, south of Bordeaux, southwestern France, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022. (SDIS 33 via AP)
            
              This photo provided by the fire brigade of the Gironde region SDIS 33, (Departmental fire and rescue service 33) firefighters tackle a blaze near Saint-Magne, south of Bordeaux, southwestern France, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022. (SDIS 33 via AP)
            
              This photo provided by the fire brigade of the Gironde region SDIS 33, (Departmental fire and rescue service 33) firefighters tackle a blaze near Saint-Magne, south of Bordeaux, southwestern France, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022. (SDIS 33 via AP)
            
              This photo provided by the fire brigade of the Gironde region SDIS 33, (Departmental fire and rescue service 33) shows a wildfire burning near Saint-Magne, south of Bordeaux, southwestern France early Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. (SDIS 33 via AP)
            
              This photo provided by the fire brigade of the Gironde region SDIS 33, (Departmental fire and rescue service 33) shows a wildfire burning near Saint-Magne, south of Bordeaux, southwestern France early Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. (SDIS 33 via AP)
            
              This photo provided by the fire brigade of the Gironde region SDIS 33, (Departmental fire and rescue service 33) shows firefighters tackling a wildfire near Saint-Magne, south of Bordeaux, southwestern France early Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. (SDIS 33 via AP)

PARIS (AP) — Firefighters from across Europe started arriving in France on Friday to help battle several wildfires, including a giant blaze ravaging pine forests in the southwest.

A series of heat waves have compounded a critical drought in much of Europe to create prime wildfire conditions. Portugal had pine forests burning for a seventh day Friday, while Britain sweated through another day of unusually warm weather.

The firefighters’ brigade from France’s Gironde region said the spread of the forest fire was limited overnight due to little wind but conditions for containing the blaze remained “unfavorable” due to hot, dry weather.

The fire in the Gironde region and neighboring Landes has burned more than 74 square kilometers (29 square miles) since Tuesday and led to the evacuation of at least 10,000 people.

More than 360 firefighters and 100 specialized land vehicles were sent from Germany, Romania, Poland and Austria. They are joining over 1,000 French firefighters already on site. Greece sent two specialized Canadair aircraft.

Sweden deployed two two firefighting Air Tractor planes to to help battle a different wildfire, in the Brittany region of western France, that burned a patch of Paimpont Forest, which is also known as Brocéliande from the mythical events described in the medieval legend of King Arthur.

More than than 600 square kilometers (232 square miles) of forest land has burned since the start of the year in France, more than any other year in the past decade, according to the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS).

The European Union’s Earth-monitoring Copernicus program said satellite observations showed estimated carbon emissions from wildfires in France during June, July and August were the highest since 2003, reflecting the severity of this year’s fire season.

In Portugal, more than 1,600 firefighters, 500 vehicles and 17 aircraft fought the week-old wildfire that has charred around 10 square kilometers (4 square miles). Much of the burned land is the Serra da Estrela National Park, a protected nature area and UNESCO World Heritage Site that is thinly populated.

The burning areas are hard for firefighters on the ground to reach due to high peaks and deep ravines, but two of the country’s three Canadair water-dumping aircraft have been unavailable on some recent days for mechanical reasons.

Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said only one water-dropping plane from Spain was available to help out because other Spanish planes were deployed to France under the European Union’s mutual aid system.

“Contrary to how things used to be when wildfires were mostly in southern Europe, unfortunately, they are now more widespread,” Costa said, describing the EU’s emergency cooperation mechanism as fully stretched.

In central Germany, near Schierke, hundreds of emergency personnel fought a major forest fire central in Harz National Park, German news agency dpa reported.

Britain’s weather service extended an extreme heat warning through the weekend for most of England and parts of Wales. Temperatures were forecast for above 30 degrees Celsius (86 F) and to reach up to 36 degrees Celsius (96.8 F) in some places before more typical cooler weather and rain arrive next week.

The Met Office said many people were expected to experience health effects from the hot weather, especially individuals who are sensitive to the heat.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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European firefighters join battle to stop French wildfires