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Neighbouring countries send fire units to NW Czechia to combat wildfire

Governments of Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Italy have offered to provide men and equipment to fight the conflagration that broke out in the Bohemian Switzerland National Park in northwestern Czechia on Sunday morning. The wildfire has also spread across the border with Germany into the adjacent Saxon Switzerland National Park.

Vít Rakušan, the Czech Minister of Internal Affairs, was in Hřensko in the Bohemian Switzerland National Park on Tuesday, where the wildfire spread over an area of around 300 ha. No deaths or injuries have been reported among the local residents, who have all been temporarily evacuated to a temporary shelter in the town of Děčín.

Minister Rakušan announced that the appeal for the international community to help combat the wildfire had received responses from Poland, Slovakia, and Italy.

Among the equipment that will be sent to Czechia are helicopters capable of carrying 3,000 litres of water and aeroplanes with a capacity of 6,000 litres. These will include a BlackHawk helicopter dispatched by the Polish national state firefighting service. Poland will also send firefighters and police officers to support their Czech colleagues.

The firefighters from abroad will support the 83 Czech firefighting units from seven regions of Czechia. Of the 400 firefighters, half are volunteers. They are being supported from above by four helicopters and two aeroplanes.

According to Lt. Gen. Vladimír Vlček, the head of the state fire department, it is not possible to determine when the fire will be put out, as it all depends on the weather conditions, such as the direction and the strength of the wind.

The Czech police are investigating the possibility of the fire resulting from an act of arson, since no weather conditions that could have led to the fire had been recorded.

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