explosion of an ammunition depot, a fire broke out in the Grunewald forest

The sky in Berlin took on Thursday, August 4 morning, unusual appearances in the heart of summer, with knots of white smoke visible above a large wooded area in the southwest of the capital. . A large fire occurred after the explosion of a police ammunition depot, according to the firemen.

The fire broke out on Wednesday in the Grunewald forest, the largest in the German capital. At regular intervals the blasts are sounded in the morning. The fire is “now under control”according to a spokesman for the Berlin fire department. “But the situation is unusual because we have ammunition of war” on the site, which prevents relief from organizing complete peace, he added.

Significant resources have been deployed, with 140 fire fighters mobilized, German army equipment – with at least one tank to recover explosives -, a robotic armored mine-clearing machine, drones and police helicopter to monitor the area. Firefighters also brought water from a nearby river and lake to try to put out the fire. “The fire spread in an area of ​​15,000 square meters, first in the police ammunition and explosive deposits and defusing site, then in the surrounding forest”according to firefighters.

This depot, located in Grunewald, is responsible for conducting controlled exhibitions of the devices entrusted to it, including the bombs of the Second World War, a legion of which are still buried underground in Berlin. “We call on people not to enter the forest, there is a risk to their lives in the perimeter of the firesaid the spokesperson of the fire department. We still do not know what started the fire, the police are still investigating. » “The safety of the people of Berlin is not threatened”however, wanted to reassure the minister of the interior of the region, Iris Spranger.

No casualties were reported

Several explosions from the ammunition depot were heard, the last one by an Agence France-Presse journalist around 11 am. This forest fire also caused disruption to public transportation, especially the many train lines that cross the area. The roads are closed. However, no houses or people were affected.

It is rare for the German capital to fall victim to such a fire. But due to the drought affecting the whole of Europe, it is more at risk because of the importance of its forests, 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.

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Much of it is now dry. Already, around Berlin, in the Brandenburg region, several forest fires have occurred since the beginning of summer. One of them destroyed more than 850 hectares.

Southeastern Germany, on the border with the Czech Republic, has been fighting for several days to put out the forest fire. Most of the country is in the state of “severe drought” hope “amazing”including Berlin, according to the UFZ institute for environmental research.

According to scientists, repeated heat waves are a clear sign of global warming and these heat waves are expected to increase in frequency, duration and intensity. Rising temperatures and increasing heat waves and droughts create favorable conditions for forest fires or bushfires.

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The World with AFP

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