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Flaming infernos, deaths and destroyed livelihoods. Europe’s forests are burning more
and more often. Rising temperatures are fueling the danger. Germany is also
threatened by forest fires.

In Germany, fire departments are preparing their staff for future operations. Scientists are studying the regenerative capacity of the forest and the heat resistance of individual tree species.

Velaux near Marseille. Emergency vehicles with blue lights in front of blazing flames. Firefighters jump out, trying with all their might to extinguish the fire in the crowns of the huge trees. In this case, the trees are made of metal, and the fire can be stopped with a switch. An exercise for an emergency at Europe’s only forest fire simulation facility. Christoph Lamers from the NRW Fire Service Institute is visiting. He observes the exercise from a safe distance. For in Germany, too, the forest is burning more and more often. Over 1500 forest fires were reported in 2019 alone, for example.

However, the southern European region is still the most severely affected. In the Greek municipality of Mati, northeast of Athens, more than 100 people died in the flames within an hour in 2018. Researchers from the Institute for Mediterranean Ecosystems are developing concepts to prevent such disasters in the future.

planet e. shows the devastating effects of large forest fires on ecosystems and asks for measures to effectively protect the population of endangered regions.

A film by Anna Pflüger
Camera: Paul Pflüger / Mirko Schernickau
Editing: Hans Kranich

A production of K22film by order of ZDF

First broadcast: 29.08.21 ZDF 16:30Uhr