European firefighters come together to fight French wildfires

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

Parts of the Gironde region have been turned into a smouldering wasteland as blazes there and in the neighbouring Landes have ravaged pine forests.

An area of more than 74 square kilometres has burned since Tuesday, leading to the evacuation of at least 10,000 people.

More than 360 firefighters and specialised vehicles have arrived from Germany, Romania, Poland, and Austria., joining forces with over 1,000 French firefighters who were already on site.

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

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

“All the colleagues are very keen to learn, to improve, and of course to help the French firefighters in an efficient way,” he added. 

The commander of the French firefighters said the presence of their foreign colleagues has helped them cover more ground as they battle the blaze.

“Without them, we wouldn’t have had resources committed here, or we would have committed resources here to the detriment of other sectors,” said Thomas Mimiague.

On Friday, as the foreign and French firefighters worked flat out, the fires in the region appeared contained. But local authorities have warned that the ongoing blistering temperatures means that victory is still uncertain.