France asks EU Commission for help in containing wildfires

EU dispatches assistance as multiple fires rage across country.

France asks EU Commission for help in containing wildfires

France has asked the European Commission to help it contain wildfires that have engulfed major parts of the country for several days with as many as eight incidents recorded Thursday.

The Commission said four water bombers from its firefighting fleet positioned in Greece and Sweden will be dispatched.

Germany, Poland, Austria and Romania have also sent firefighting teams as first responders.

“This fire season is particularly fierce on our continent,” said European Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarcic, adding that the EU Civil Protection Mechanism can be activated when a disaster strains national response capacities.

French President Emmanuel Macron expressed gratitude for “European solidarity” for coming to the “aid of France in the face of the fires.”

One of the biggest fires in Gironde in southwestern France has burned more than 6,800 hectares (16,803 acres) and 16 houses since it resumed Aug. 9.

More than 10,000 residents have been evacuated as of late Wednesday and 1,100 firefighters are on the ground trying to control the flames.

The fires in Gironde last month destroyed at least 6,600 hectares of forests.

Premier Elisabeth Borne, who visited Gironde with Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, said the resumption of fires “is a shock.”

She offered her full support to the more than 10,000 firefighters and civil security personnel that “have been battling the flames across the country and demonstrating exceptional mobilization to protect the population and our natural spaces.”

In the Jura region in eastern France, two fires have burned 330 hectares and 30 people have been evacuated as a preventive measure. Approximately 130 hectares have been destroyed in Isere in Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, according to BFMTV news.