On Friday, firefighters from around Europe rushed to France’s aid to combat a large wildfire, while fires raged in Portugal and parts of England suffered severe drought, as successive heatwaves heightened awareness of climate change concerns.
Much of Europe has been subjected to weeks of blistering temperatures, which have decreased water levels in Germany’s Rhine River and caused the source of Britain’s River Thames to dry up further downstream than in recent years.
High temperatures and a deteriorating drought posed a high possibility of fresh flames igniting in Gironde, in southwestern France, according to local officials, even after an overnight respite kept a wildfire that had been blazing for days, charred thousands of hectares, and displaced 10,000 people in check.
Firefighters from Germany, Romania, Greece, and other countries were on the ground to assist France in battling the fire in the Bordeaux wine region, as well as on other fronts, including Brittany in the northwest.
‘It doesn’t matter what country it is, we are firefighters and we are here to help,’ said Cristian Buhaianu, head Romanian firefighter in Gironde.
Stephanie Martin, the French commander, welcomed their assistance in an area that had already been battling a large fire for weeks last month. ‘After a month of fighting, our firefighters are exhausted. It is a tremendous help to us, allowing us to concentrate on the other operation,’ she stated