It is very rare that the German capital is the victim of such fires. But with the drought hitting all of Europe, it is increasingly threatened due to the importance of its forested areas.
Explosions, white smoke, disrupted transport: a fire broke out in Berlin’s largest forest on Wednesday, a very unusual event, from a police ammunition depot.
The skies over Berlin took on a very unusual look in the heart of summer, with plumes of white smoke visible above a large wooded area in the southwest of the German capital, Grunewald. At regular intervals explosions sounded in the morning.
“The fire is still not under control and continues to spread, the situation is totally unusual because we have munitions of war” on the site, which prevent relief from deploying, said Thomas Kirstein, the doorman. – word of the Berlin fire brigade.
World War II controlled bomb explosions
“We stay outside the perimeter of the fire for security reasons,” he said. A security zone of one km around the place of storage of ammunition has been set up. Firefighters, 120 in total, are positioned around.
“The fire spread over an area of 15,000 square meters, first on a police ammunition and explosives deposit and defusing site, then in the surrounding forest”, according to the firefighters.
This depot, located in Grunewald, is responsible for carrying out controlled exhibitions of the devices entrusted to it, including World War II bombs, a legion of which are still buried underground in Berlin.
The army called in as reinforcements
“We call on people not to enter the forest, there is danger for their lives in the perimeter of the fire”, according to the spokesperson for the firefighters, “we do not yet know what started the fire , the police are investigating.
Even the army was called in to help. “We have asked for tanks from the Bundeswehr,” said the spokesperson.
Fire extinguishing helicopters could also be mobilized. Several explosions from the ammunition depot were heard.
This forest fire also caused disruptions in public transport, with several train lines crossing the area. Roads have been closed. However, no homes or people were affected.
Drought-related forest fires
It is very rare for the German capital to be the victim of such fires. But with the drought affecting all of Europe, it is increasingly threatened due to the importance of its wooded areas, a particularity of this metropolis of 4 million inhabitants.
Berlin has 29,000 hectares of forest, making it one of the most forested capitals in the world. Much of it is now dry. Already, all around Berlin in the Brandenburg region, several forest fires have broken out since the beginning of the summer. One of them ravaged more than 850 hectares.
Southeastern Germany, on the border with the Czech Republic, has been fighting for several days to put out a forest fire. Much of the country is in a state of “extreme” or “exceptional” drought, including Berlin, according to the UFZ institute for environmental research.
Source: BFM TV