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Wildfire on German-Czech border threatens tourist area

The fire in the region called Bohemian Switzerland on the Czech side and the Saxon Switzerland National Park on the German side has spread again.

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A German Federal Police helicopter battles wildfires in the Saxon Switzerland National Park, near Schmilka, Germany (Robert Michael/dpa via AP)

A German Federal Police helicopter battles wildfires in the Saxon Switzerland National Park, near Schmilka, Germany (Robert Michael/dpa via AP)

A German Federal Police helicopter battles wildfires in the Saxon Switzerland National Park, near Schmilka, Germany (Robert Michael/dpa via AP)

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 currently burning and eight firefighting helicopters were helping to douse the flames, dpa reported.

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A forest fire in the Saxon Switzerland National Park, near Schmilka, Germany (Robert Michael/dpa via AP)

A forest fire in the Saxon Switzerland National Park, near Schmilka, Germany (Robert Michael/dpa via AP)

AP/PA Images

A forest fire in the Saxon Switzerland National Park, near Schmilka, Germany (Robert Michael/dpa via AP)

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.

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A helicopter throws water as fire burns in the area of the Ceske Svycarsko National Park, near Hrensko, Czech Republic (Ondrej Hajek/CTK via AP)

A helicopter throws water as fire burns in the area of the Ceske Svycarsko National Park, near Hrensko, Czech Republic (Ondrej Hajek/CTK via AP)

AP/PA Images

A helicopter throws water as fire burns in the area of the Ceske Svycarsko National Park, near Hrensko, Czech Republic (Ondrej Hajek/CTK via AP)

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 (1,236 acres).

A police helicopter scouted the area with a thermal camera to look for pockets of embers that could ignite into flames. 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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