WARSAW, July 1 (Xinhua) -- Poland saw a record number of forest fires in June, the state firefighter service announced on Monday, as the country went through a major heatwave during the last week of the month.
According to the state firefighter service, in June alone, over 1,500 forest fires had to be extinguished across Poland, which were facilitated by high temperatures, low humidity levels and strong winds. The firefighters were preparing for more over the next summer months, the spokesman of the service told Polish media.
In Greater Poland Voivodeship in western Poland, firefighters have been battling numerous fires affecting crops and forests since the weekend. Tens of firefighters and three planes were needed to put off fires affecting hundreds of kilometers of crops on Sunday.
In Poznan, the capital city of the region, at least ten kilometers of meadows burnt down, as heavy wind spread the fire, countering the intervention of firefighters.
Greater Poland has historically been one of the driest regions in Poland, but in the last decades coal mining and climate change have resulted in a dramatic drying of surface and underground waters in the area. Local authorities say local lakes, a touristic attraction, have lost several meters in depth over the last years and smaller tributaries have dried up.
On June 26, a country-wide temperature record for June was reached in Radzyn, a town in eastern Poland, with thermometers hitting 38.2 degrees Celsius.
The last week of June brought a heatwave across most Poland and some other European countries, which meteorologists say was caused by hot air drawn from northern Africa and high pressure over central Europe.