Brandenburg’s forest fire protection officer Raimund Engel was cautiously optimistic about the situation in the forests on Whit Sunday afternoon. “After four fires on Friday, which all affected less than one hectare and could be quickly extinguished, it was very quiet on Pentecost Saturday,” he told the Tagesspiegel: “That was probably due to the fact that the temperatures didn’t climb quite as high as they did originally announced.”
In addition, it had even rained a little in the particularly dry south, so that the Lausitz control center responsible for this area did not record a single forest fire on Saturday.
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On Pentecost Sunday there were only two smaller operations in the Spree-Neisse district until the early afternoon, as a spokesman for the Tagesspiegel said: “But overall this is a relaxed situation.”
This is one of the reasons why “only” the forest fire risk level 4 applied in almost all Brandenburg districts on Sunday. The highest risk level 5 only had to be declared for the Havelland district for the time being, while risk level 3 applied in the Uckermark.
The consequence, however, is not only an absolute ban on smoking in the forests, said Raimund Engel: “From danger level 4, smoking, grilling or otherwise handling open fire is no longer permitted within a distance of less than 50 meters from the forest.” This also applies to the windows, terraces or front gardens of houses that are close to the forest.
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Compliance with these regulations is also very important in view of the extreme drought in the forests, said the forest fire protection officer: “Many people are wrong about the amount of precipitation in the past week. There were regions that got almost nothing at all.”
In addition, the rainwater did not reach the deeper layers of the earth due to evaporation and wind, so that streams and rivers were again suffering from a lack of water. The Black Elster, for example, is even threatened with drying out in some sections (the Tagesspiegel reported).
“That’s why every drop of rain is important and necessary,” said Raimund Engel, looking at the storm front with more hope than fear, which, according to the weather service, is approaching from the west on Sunday afternoon. Of course, this should not cause any damage, but it should bring rain. That’s what they’re hoping for at the Lausitz control center in Cottbus. However, according to the weather service, the rain should not arrive here until Whit Monday morning.