26.07.2022, Sachsen, Schmilka: Ein Hubschrauber der Bundeswehr fliegt mit einem Löschwasser-Außenlastbehälter über einen Brand im Nationalpark Sächsische Schweiz. Beim Waldbrand im Nationalpark Sächsische Schweiz wurde durch den betroffenen Landkreis Katastrophenalarm für Bad Schandau ausgelöst. Foto: Sebastian Kahnert/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

Bundeswehr helicopters are also to be used to fight the forest fire in the Saxon Switzerland National Park. “The first of three machines has been in use since Tuesday afternoon,” said a spokesman for the Saxon Switzerland-Eastern Ore Mountains district office on Tuesday when asked. The others should follow later in the day. The helicopters should primarily help with the firefighting operation.

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The fire spread from the Bohemian Switzerland National Park in the Czech Republic to the Saxon Switzerland National Park on Monday. Since then, a state police helicopter has been providing reconnaissance flights in the fire area. In addition, a federal police helicopter with a water tank attached is used to extinguish the fire.

The situation with the forest fire in the Saxon Switzerland National Park has worsened. Tourists were urged to avoid the Hintere Sächsische Schweiz area, as there was a risk to life and limb. A disaster alarm had been raised for Bad Schandau. “There are currently no evacuations planned, residential buildings are currently not at risk,” emphasized the spokesman for the district office.

According to the district office spokesman, the number of deployment sites around the Großer Winterberg in the national park has been increased from three to five. He was unable to provide any information on the exact area that was on fire in the impassable, rocky area. On Tuesday, 254 firefighters and forces from the federal and state police were in action.

“The current forest fire season in Saxony is devastating,” said Saxony’s Environment Minister Wolfram Günther on Tuesday, according to the announcement. “This forest fire is a tragedy for the region and for all people who live from tourism.” The Greens politician asked the population and tourists to avoid the fire area and to adhere to the entry bans. “We are experiencing the consequences of the climate crisis here with drought, heat and dried out forests.”

Meanwhile, in the Czech Republic, the situation with the forest fire in the Bohemian Switzerland National Park near the border with Saxony has dramatically worsened. More than 400 firefighters fought the blaze on Tuesday, a spokesman said. They were supported by police and army helicopters. The forest fire spread to an area of ​​around 30 hectares.

In the town of Mezna, eight buildings caught fire and burned out completely. Almost all residents of the municipality of Hrensko, which is considered the gateway to the national park, had to leave their homes on Tuesday morning, a spokesman for the Czech fire brigade said. In addition, the emergency services evacuated a children’s holiday camp in Srbska Kamenice with around 100 participants from Germany.

According to experts, it is difficult to prove a direct connection between climate change and individual forest fires. One thing is certain: due to climate change, there will be more hot days. Heat alone does not trigger forest fires. But high temperatures, drought, low humidity and wind can increase the risk of wildfires.