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World Smoke from forest fire drifts across Czech Republic

07:11  30 july  2022
07:11  30 july  2022 Source:   bbc.com

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People across the western half of the Czech Republic have been advised by the fire brigade to keep their windows closed as they fight a big forest fire.

Parts of the Bohemian Switzerland national park, which sits on the German border, have been burning since Sunday.

Amid record temperatures and dry conditions, strong winds have sent the smoke drifting across the country.

Homes have been destroyed and the smell of smoke has reached the capital Prague 100km (60 miles) to the south.

Smoke has also been detected in the Pardubice area, 180km to the south-east.

Hundreds of Czech firefighters were deployed as the fire destroyed areas of forest and homes in the village of Mezna. The fire was also threatening the nearby village of Hrensko, close to the German border, and dozens of people were forced to flee their homes.

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Three German teams who had been helping later left for the German side of the border as the blaze later started to spread. Tourists were urged to avoid the area as the alarm was raised around Bad Schandau in the Saxon Switzerland national park.


Video: Footage shows massive wildfire in northern Czech Republic (Reuters)

The fire service was inundated with calls about the drift of smoke and appealed to Czechs not to contact them unless they saw flames. Human carelessness has been blamed for the fire, the BBC's Rob Cameron in Prague reports.

The national park is a major tourist attraction along the border with Germany © Getty Images The national park is a major tourist attraction along the border with Germany

Czech helicopters could be seen filling buckets from the River Elbe before heading towards the fire. Firefighters from Slovakia, Poland and Italy, as well as Germany have responded to Czech calls for aid under the EU's civil protection mechanism.

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While there have been no reports of injuries from the Czech fire, hundreds of people have fled their homes since Sunday. Prime Minister Petr Fiala visited the scene of the fire on Tuesday.

The Bohemian Switzerland national park is a popular tourist attraction, and its naturally formed sandstone arch - the largest in Europe - has featured in a number of films, including The Chronicles of Narnia.

Elsewhere in Europe:

  • Authorities in northern Greece were continuing to battle a devastating blaze in Dadia national park in Evros for a sixth day
  • In Spain three wildfires in the Castile and León region stabilised and large fires that had ravaged Galicia were reported under control
  • A blaze in northern Tenerife continued but had stopped spreading while several smaller fires continued across Spain.

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