We were moaning under the days scorching heatmaking its way across Europe. On their way to destruction, neither people, nor homes, nor forests are safe from the flames that push even the firefighters to their limits.
Because: Fires spread rapidly due to constant drought and wind fanned. “The situation in Europe and also in Germany is very tense and will continue as long as it remains very dry,” says Tobias Thiel, 46, head of public relations at the German Firefighters’ Union.
Thiel also: “ I was totally caught by Southern and Western Europe. Some areas where many people go on vacation are on fire.”
One of them is embers, which are mostly caused by humans. Another situation, Thiel says, is the situation in which German fire brigades are currently living. “Due to the high rate of infection, a lot of employees are absent. Emergency services are working at the limit.”
Tragic: According to the World Weather Organization (WMO). Heat waves like those currently affecting large parts of Europe will be normal in the summer months ahead. “Such episodes are becoming more frequent and the negative trend will continue until at least 2060, regardless of the success of our climate protection efforts,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.
Fire brigade expert Thiele: “Coniferous forests burn faster than forests with mixed plantations and the wind also plays a major role. In addition, fire creates its own wind. These air currents can transmit sparks even further. We slowly have to get used to the drought. This is dangerous. It can also lead to wildfires in winter. The most important factor, because it is the most unpredictable, is man himself.”
400 hectares are burning in Tuscany
▶ ︎ Only on Tuesday, firefighters evacuated about 500 people in Tuscany. The reason: a massive forest fire threatened to destroy the homes of Italians. Luca from their homes. The regional president of Tuscany, Eugenio Gianni, spoke of a damaged area of about 400 hectares.
“The fires are spreading fast. The biggest turbid, the faster it is. This is unlikely in Germany, but the fire can reach speeds of up to 60 km / h. The California wildfires are a good example of this,” explains Fire Department spokesperson Thiel.
The smoke spread to the neighboring provinces of Tuscany. Five helicopters, four firefighting planes and about 100 firefighters have been battling the flames since Monday.
Firefighters fight wild and bushfires nationwide in Italy. On the holiday islands of Sicily and Sardinia, there is a high, sometimes even higher level of bushfire warning.
40.3 degrees – a temperature record in England
Even in the “uncooled” state England The situation is tragic. In London, firefighters had to deal with severe fires and even declared a major disaster. In Coningsby in the eastern county of Lincolnshire, 40.3 degrees was measured in the afternoon, according to preliminary data from the Met Office – a British record. Prior to this week the temperature was 38.7 degrees, and it was measured in Cambridge in 2019.
About 19,300 hectares of land burned south of Bordeaux
Huge fires have been raging on the French Atlantic coast for days and are spreading. On the French southern Atlantic coast, thousands of people were forced to leave their homes as a precaution due to wildfires.
About 8,000 people were affected near Teste-de-Buch, and 3,500 people were initially moved to safety near Landiras. In the previous days, more than 16,000 people were evacuated from the danger zone due to the fires raging in the area.
Within a week they burned 19,300 hectares of land south of Bordeaux.
Fires in the Iberian Peninsula
According to the ICNF, the fires in Portugal have already destroyed nearly 60,000 hectares in just over six and a half months. in Spain According to official estimates, about 25,000 hectares of forest and dozens of homes, shops and factories have burned in the past 10 days alone – an area larger than the city of Düsseldorf.
Are we in Germany ready for a new wave of fire?
There are probably no Germans on foreign firefighting missions yet. Because the situation on our doorstep is becoming more and more serious: “Cases such as the wildfires in Saxon Switzerland show that there is a great need on our doorstep,” says fire expert Tobias Thiel.
“We urgently need a rethink in Germany: here firefighters must know and practice the vital techniques of forest fires. Gone are the days when these fires were the exception. For a long time, the focus was only on indoor fires. This is what I see with equipment: Hoses, vehicles and even protective clothing are not designed to fight wildfires of this magnitude.”
He pleaded with Thiel: “There is an urgent need for firefighting aircraft. The federal government must slowly come to terms with the idea that a European-wide concept is needed. The Bundeswehr could also be better used in such emergency situations.”
“The situation in Europe and Germany is dangerous. Weather scenarios like the current one are still driving everything. We firefighters are naturally nervous in these situations. In order to contain the danger as much as possible, residents should also remain vigilant and call the fire brigade if there are signs to a fire.”