German-Czech blaze threatens tourist area

·1-min read

A large wildfire on the German-Czech border is spreading and threatening to destroy a forested national park popular with tourists.

The fire in the region called Bohemian Switzerland on the Czech side and the Saxon Switzerland National Park on the German side, which started at the weekend, had seemed to be under control but spread again early on Thursday, German news agency DPA reported.

Hundreds of firefighters on both sides of the border, with help from neighbouring Poland and Slovakia, were battling the flames, while local authorities warned tourists to stay away.

About 250 hectares of forest are burning and eight firefighting helicopters were helping to douse the flames, DPA reported.

Local authorities warned tourists to stay away from the area.

Saxony state officials banned hikers from entering several forests in the region. To prevent additional blazes, they also asked local residents not to set off fireworks at private parties.

Another large forest fire in the Elbe-Elster district of the eastern German state of Brandenburg was under control on Thursday after flaring up again on Wednesday evening, local authorities said.

The fire was still burning an area of 500 hectares.

Some areas are contaminated with Second World War ammunition and are too dangerous for firefighters to enter because the heat or human contact could cause explosions.

Germany's army has sent several military helicopters to both fires to support local units.

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