European heatwave raises risk of forest fires in Germany

2018-07-26 11:00:00 | From:Xinhua

The German Fire Brigade Association (DFV) warned on Wednesday that unusually-hot and dry weather currently experienced in large parts of Europe could spark forest fires in Germany as well.

"The risk of forest fires in Germany is extremely high and we urgently need rain for this risk to be reduced again", DFV president Hartmut Ziebs told the German press agency (dpa).

Greece and Sweden have already experienced devastating forest blazes as temperatures continued to soar across the continent in July.

At least 74 individuals were reported dead on Tuesday as fires raged in the Greek Attica region near Athens, a popular destination among tourists during the summer months.

Ziebs said, however, that such an extreme scale of destruction was unlikely to be witnessed in Germany given differences in vegetation.

According to DFV, the northern German states of Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Lower Saxony and parts of Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt faced the biggest risk of forest fires.

The German Meteorological Service (DWD) is predicting highs of up to 36 degrees Celsius in Germany on Wednesday. A DWD spokesperson said the country had already recorded a "tropical" night on Tuesday with widespread temperatures above 20 degrees Celsius in spite of clear skies.

Speaking to the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland consortium of newspapers, DWD meteorologist Andreas Matzarakis urged German citizens to take heat warnings released by authorities seriously.

"If your employer offers you flexi-time, consider starting work earlier in the morning and leaving around midday to avoid spending too many hot hours in the office," Matzarakis said.

Germany is only one of several European countries which is currently being gripped by a heatwave.

Parts of England have not had any rain since late May in the longest dry spell recorded in the country since 1969. The French national weather agency Meteo France has also placed several departments in the greater Paris region on orange alert, the second highest heat warning issued by local authorities.

Hot temperatures and lack of rain are particularly problematic for many European farmers. Although vintners in England can look forward to a bumper year thanks to the Mediterranean-style summer, grain farmers in Germany have expressed concerns that many of them face the prospect of bankruptcy due a resulting fall in annual harvests.

Commenting on the worrying trend on Wednesday, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) noted that temperatures which were still considered unusual for July could become normality in Europe within the coming decades.

"In Germany, average temperatures have already risen by 1.4 degrees since the industrial revolution," PIK researcher Fred Hattermann told press. Higher average temperatures caused by man-made climate change were hereby likely to lead to more extreme heatwaves in the future.

Your Comment


Related News