A fire on the German-Czech border threatens a tourist area

A large forest fire on the German-Czech border is spreading and threatening to destroy a forested national park popular with tourists.

The fire in the area called Bohemian Switzerland on the Czech side and Saxon Switzerland National Park on the German side, which started at the weekend, had appeared to be under control but spread again early on Thursday, the report said. German press agency dpa.

Hundreds of firefighters on both sides of the border, with help from neighboring Poland and Slovakia, were battling the flames, while local authorities warned tourists to stay away.

About 250 hectares of forest are currently burning and eight firefighting helicopters were helping to put out the flames, dpa reported.

A forest fire in the Saxon Switzerland National Park, near Schmilka, Germany (Robert Michael/dpa via AP)

Another large forest fire in the Elbe-Elster district in the eastern German state of Brandenburg also reignited on Wednesday evening, local authorities said.

Germany’s agriculture minister said late Wednesday the government would help tackle the fires and praised those already working to put them out.

The German army sent several military helicopters to the two fires to support local units.

“The emergency forces are already doing a great job here,” Cem Ozdemir said.

A helicopter throws water as the fire burns in Ceske Svycarsko National Park area, Bohemian Switzerland, near Hrensko, Czech Republic A helicopter throws water as the fire burns in the Ceske Svycarsko National Park area, near Hrensko, Czech Republic (Ondrej Hajek/CTK via AP)

Fighting the Brandenburg fire was further complicated as some areas are contaminated with World War II munitions and can only be extinguished from the air by helicopters.

It is too dangerous for firefighters to enter these areas because old munitions triggered by heat or by people walking on them can explode at any time.