Berlin grapples with wildfire fears as blaze rages in central Germany
April 25 2019 07:05 PM


An ongoing dry spell has placed the German government and European Union on alert as Germany's weather service warned the conditions could continue through the next week.

‘We are monitoring the development carefully and take the concerns of farmers very seriously,’ a spokesman for the German Food and Agriculture Ministry said Thursday.

The European Union has already suggested that aid for farmers could be on the way if the drought in parts of Europe continues. But the German ministry suggested it would take a more patient approach, as any forecasts for the summer months amounted to ‘speculation.’   The dry conditions have already prompted wildfires elsewhere in Europe, including Sweden and Norway.

In Germany, some 400 fire fighters are currently fighting a blaze the size of eight football fields near Fulda in the central state of Hesse. The fire broke out Wednesday night, likely due to a lightning strike, authorities said.

Germany's national weather service said the current drought could last well into next week. While there will be some rain in coming days, it will not be enough to overcome the drought or ease the threat of wildfires in parts of the country.

The weather service on Wednesday warned that this year's drought could repeat or even exceed the levels experienced in 2018, based on rain levels since the start of the year.

Sugar beat, corn and canola crops in particular were in need of water, according to a spokeswoman for the agricultural association of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

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