July marks heat records in Germany as drought and forest fires plague country’s east
Clean Energy Wire / euronews / dpa
Regional heat records in northern Germany, drought in many regions, and large forest and field fires in the east of country grabbed the headlines in July 2022, the National Meteorological Service (DWD) said in its monthly weather review. “Overall, July 2022 was clearly too warm, considerably too dry and very sunny,” said the DWD. The average temperature was 19.2 degrees Celsius (°C), 2.3 degrees higher than during the reference period 1961 to 1990. Drought and heat were the basis for numerous field and forest fires, said DWD. Hundreds of hectares burned in Brandenburg and in Saxony, among other places.
The fires in the national park Saxon Switzerland, and Bohemian Switzerland in bordering Czech Republic raged on over the last weekend of July. Saxony’s environment minister Wolfram Günther told news agency dpa that he sees a “whole new reality when it comes to forest fire risks”. Together with the numerous flood disasters of the past years, the forest fires are “clearly the projected climate change consequences we are now in - and they are now hitting us not only with costs, but with all the catastrophic consequences for people,” said Günther.
As a heat wave hits Europe exactly one year after heavy rain caused deadly floods in the centre of the continent in 2021, the focus of the public debate in Germany has again shifted to the impacts of a changing climate. The head of the Federal Office for Civil Protection (BBK), Ralph Tiesler, said some areas should not be resettled given climate change and the acute threat of severe weather disasters and floods.