Forest fires rage in eastern Germany; situation ‘very tense’

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Forest fires spurred on by extremely dry conditions across Germany were gaining momentum in the eastern states of Brandenburg and Saxony early on Tuesday.

In the southern part of Brandenburg, more than 150 firefighters were attempting to contain a fire encompassing about 800 hectares of land.

The situation was very tense, a spokesperson for the fire brigade said.

About 600 residents were being evacuated from their homes.

A local forest fire protection officer, Philipp Haase, said that the fire was particularly hard to contain around the town of Rehfeld due to strong winds.

He added that at least one wind power turbine was inside the fire area and that the military had been called out to aid the firefighters.

During the course of the operation, at least seven emergency personnel were injured, six of whom were taken to hospital, according to local officials.

Firefighters were also attempting to put out a fire in the Saxon Switzerland National Park.

Local authorities issued a preliminary disaster alert late on Monday.

Early on Tuesday, 136 emergency personnel were still on site, “but our big problem is the wind,’’ said a spokesperson for the district office.

Elsewhere in Europe, forest areas continued to burn, for example in Greece, where the danger of further fires remained high on Tuesday.

A forest fire in the southern part of the island of Lesbos, which was still not under control on Monday, already destroyed around 1,700 hectares of land. (NAN)

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