PARIS, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- Five European countries -- Germany, Greece, Poland, Romania and Austria -- are sending reinforcements to France to combat the wildfires in the southwest of the country, French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Thursday.
"Germany, Greece, Poland, and in the next few hours Romania and Austria: our partners are coming to the aid of France in the face of the fires," the French president tweeted. "Across the territory, more than 10,000 firefighters and civil security personnel are mobilized against the flames."
Four planes from the European Union (EU) firefighting fleet have been sent to France from Greece and Sweden, following a request from French authorities as forest fires are ravaging southwestern France in particular. Firefighting teams from Germany, Poland, Austria and Romania are on their way to support French firefighters under the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, the European Commission has announced.
The EU Emergency Response Coordination Center is in close contact with the French authorities to support the coordination of firefighting operations. In addition, the EU's Copernicus satellite has been activated by France to collect essential data for first responders on burnt areas, according to the European Commission.
More than 40,000 hectares of land have been burned so far this year in France, but likely to reach around 50,000 hectares according to European satellite data, more than three times the annual average for the past ten years, the AFP reported.
In the department of Gironde in southwest France, 6,800 hectares have been burned and 10,000 people have been evacuated until Thursday morning. Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne and Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin are on the spot to give their support to firefighters. ■