PARIS - French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday vowed to replant 1 billion trees within 10 years, or 10% of the French forest, after massive summer wildfires ravaged huge areas of the country, especially in the southwest.

Faced with the increased risk of fires amid mounting concern over global warming, Macron also announced plans to invest 250 million euros to modernize the firefighting air fleet.

Macron made the announcements at a ceremony at the Elysee Palace to honour firemen, volunteers and local authorities who fought the summer wildfires. The blazes destroyed 72,000 hectares (180,000 acres), he said, six times the average annual fire destruction seen over the past 10 years.

After a particularly hot summer, France and Spain are also experiencing unusually warm temperatures this autumn, adding to mounting concern over changes in weather patterns in Europe

"This year is exceptional but may not look that exceptional in the future," Macron said.

($1 = 1.0048 euros)

(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon Editing by Frances Kerry)