European firefighters unite to fight forest fires in France

Firefighters from across Europe have joined their French counterparts to help fight several wildfires, including in the south-west of the country.

Parts of the Gironde region have been turned into a smoldering wasteland as fires there and in nearby Landes have ravaged pine forests.

An area of ​​more than 74 square kilometers has burned since Tuesday, prompting the evacuation of at least 10,000 people.

More than 360 firefighters and specialist vehicles arrived from Germany, Romania, Poland and Austria, joining more than 1,000 French firefighters already on site.

The German team has been working with the local teams since Friday morning.

“We are proud to be here,” said German firefighter Heiko Basten.

“All colleagues are very keen to learn, to improve, and of course to help French firefighters effectively,” he added.

The French fire commander said the presence of their foreign colleagues helped them cover more ground as they fought the blaze.

“Without them, we would not have had resources committed here, or we would have committed resources here at the expense of other sectors,” said Thomas Mimiague.

On Friday, while foreign and French firefighters were hard at work, the fires in the region seemed contained. But local authorities have warned that the ongoing scorching temperatures mean victory is still in doubt.