Forest fire around an ammunition depot in Berlin

Posted on Thursday, August 4, 2022 at 7:36 PM

Explosions, plumes of smoke, army mobilization: A massive fire broke out Thursday amid drought, from a police ammunition depot in Berlin’s largest forest, an event unprecedented in modern history.

The skies of the German capital have taken extraordinary appearances in the midst of summer, with wisps of white smoke appearing in the distance over a large forested area in the southwest of the German capital, Grunwald, which is very popular with walkers.

The bangs sounded at regular intervals throughout the day.

“This is an unprecedented event in the history of post-war Berlin,” said the city’s mayor, Franziska Jaffe. However, no injuries were reported.

For much of the day, the firefighters had so much difficulty controlling the flames due to the proximity of the ammunition depot that they were unable to approach.

But at the beginning of the evening, the fires were under control according to the firefighters, who were able to advance up to 500 meters from the warehouse and consider putting out the flames during the night. About 50 hectares of forest were burned.

“When you see all these lights, you get worried of course, especially when you are worried yourself,” testifies Helmut Schmidt, 64, who crosses the woods by bike to get to work. “This morning I smelled smoke. Nature is in such a state, it hurts,” he adds of the dryness.

– war ammunition –

“The situation is quite unusual because we have ammunition” at the site, a fire department spokesman said.

Approximately 250 firefighters and police, as well as German army equipment, including a tank, were deployed to keep explosives out of the flames.

Firefighters fetch water from a nearby river and lake.

It was not immediately possible to determine the cause of the fire. The ammunition and explosives store and defuse the site where the fire broke out belongs to the police.

It contains 25 tons of explosive materials, including World War II bombs, much of it still buried underground in Berlin.

The police are responsible for carrying out controlled exposures on the spot. And the discussion immediately began about the advantages of installing such a site in the middle of a very crowded forest.

The mayor of the city promised to reassess the situation.

– drought –

This forest fire also caused disruptions to many train lines that cross the area. Roads have been closed. However, no homes were affected.

It is very rare for the German capital to be a victim of such fires.

But with the drought affecting all of Europe, it is becoming increasingly threatened due to the importance of its forested areas, and the peculiarity of this city of 4 million people.

Berlin has 29,000 hectares of forest, making it one of the most forested capitals in the world.

Much of it is dry now. All over Berlin in the Brandenburg region, several forest fires have broken out since the beginning of summer. One of them destroyed more than 850 hectares.

Southeast 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 experiencing “extreme” or “exceptional” drought, including Berlin, according to the UFZ Institute for Environmental Research.

According to scientists, frequent heat waves are an unmistakable sign of global warming and these heat waves are expected to multiply, lengthen and intensify.

Rising temperatures, breeding heat waves, and droughts create ideal conditions for wildfires or wildfires.

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