The extraordinary hot weather and drought over western Europe which is now in its third month, has made forest and woodland fires a major problem for most countries.
GV AERIAL V Pail of smoke hanging over fields (2 shots)
GV Fire fighting tender in roadway with hoses aimed at brush fires
GV Same road without fire tender
GV PAN Fire officer shouting directions to others (2 shots)
GV Fire fighters retreating down road as fire crosses road
GV Motorcyclist down road PAN TO fire
CU Sign PAN TO smoke billowing from fire near threatened building
GV Fire raging in woodland (2 shots)
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Background: The extraordinary hot weather and drought over western Europe which is now in its third month, has made forest and woodland fires a major problem for most countries.
SYNOPSIS: In the Netherlands, fire fighters have been working for days with few breaks, in an attempt to bring under control big fires in brush and forest land near the border with West Germany. The fires have been so wide-spread that roads have been cut and buildings threatened.
Fire is the last problem most Dutch farmers want to face this dry, not summer. In many parts of the country Army units have been pumping water from the canals to stricken farmlands, but agricultural experts say that the help will not make much difference.
In Belgium more than 2,000 hectares--nearly, 5,000 acres--of forests have been wiped out by fires in ten days of heat that has transformed every wood into a tinder-box. One fire, which reached its peak on Wednesday, forced the Belgium railway authorities to close the line to West Germany for several hours. On the Rhine, transport charges have risen three-fold because Europe's busiest river is at its lowest this century.
In holland the fruit and flower bulb crops have been seriously affected by the drought, and prospects for rain look bleak.