Major wildfire in Hesse sparked by lightning strike
Hundreds of firefighters were battling a blaze in a forest area in the central German state of Hesse on Thursday, thought to have been caused by a lightning strike.
The major fire in the Seulingswald hill range, north of Fulda near the A4 Autobahn, covers an area of seven hectares – equal to the size of about 10 football pitches – according to police.
The fire broke out late on Wednesday evening following a thunder storm, reported the Hessenschau. Residents in nearby village Ludwigsau alerted the fire brigade.
Smoke and flames engulfing the forest area could be seen from afar.
The police said that no-one was in danger. Although the fire is now under control, trees are still unstable and could fall. Firefighters are to stay at the scene for several hours, a police spokesman said.
At peak times, 400 emergency workers were involved in fighting the blaze. According to a spokesman for the fire brigade, three firefighters were injured during the operation. They were taken to a hospital with smoke inhalation but were discharged after treatment.
"We assume that lightning struck the forest and caused the fire," said a police spokesman on Thursday morning.
Emergency services during a briefing. Photo: -/LK HEF-ROF/DPA
High risk of forest fires
There have been several wildfires across Germany due to the spring heatwave that has seen temperatures rise to the high 20s.
Earlier in the week, emergency services battled a huge blaze in a forest area covering about 13 hectares in Thuringia. There have also been fires in Brandenburg and Bavaria.
The German Weather Service (DWD) has put forest fire warnings in place in several parts of the country.
Experts said that higher winds increase the risk of wildfires because it can help spread the blaze.
People in Germany have been warned not to smoke in forests, light any fires in natural areas or throw cigarettes out the windows of cars.
The predicted cooler weather in the coming days is expected to reduce the fire risk.
Major fire - der Großbrand
Firefighters - die Feuerwehrleute
Kämpfen - to fight
Lightning - der Blitz
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