(Bloomberg) -- French President Emmanuel Macron said European Union countries will join his government’s efforts to fight wildfires that have been raging across France for days.
Germany, Greece, Poland, Romania and Austria will participate in efforts that have already mobilized 10,000 French firefighters and other civilian forces, Macron tweeted on Thursday. He thanked them for coming to help France and praised “European solidarity.” Poland alone will send 146 firefighters and 49 vehicles, the French presidency said in a separate message.
The European Commission said it is sending four airplanes from its firefighting fleet from Greece and Sweden after France activated a common mechanism to fight forest fires.
Wildfires flared up again in France as the country endures a third heat wave and the worst drought on record. The area most affected is Gironde, a southwestern coastal region near Bordeaux, where wildfires have devastated nearly 7,000 hectares (17,297 acres) of forest and forced the evacuation of 10,000 people from their homes, according to the government.
In a visit to Gironde Thursday, prime minister Elisabeth Borne said she suspected arson may be involved but stressed that an investigation will be conducted.
The government warned the drought could get worse in the next two weeks and activated an interministerial task force to tackle the situation. The heat wave, which follows a hot, dry spring, has led the government to enforce water restrictions in 93 out of the 96 administrative regions, known as departments. Water-saving measures include a ban on irrigation for farmland.
Further north, above the Loire River, a wildfire has burned through more than 1,200 hectares in the Pugle forest, according to local authorities. Firefighters were also battling a blaze in the Aveyron region of southern France.
Borne said the resources mobilized against the wildfires are unprecedented and insisted the government will revamp its long-term strategy to tackle fires.
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