After the outbreak of other large fires in forest and farmland in Brandenburg, the fire brigade in the south of the state is continuing to fight against the spread of the flames. According to the Elbe-Elster district, the fire spread over an area of 800 hectares.
The situation was “very tense,” said a spokesman for the fire department on Tuesday morning. The fire is “not yet under control”. The Kölsa settlement in the city of Falkenberg (Elster) was particularly affected, the spokesman said. The fire brigade was on site on Tuesday morning with 152 emergency services
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The tense situation was caused “above all by violent gusts of wind, which made the extinguishing work of the firefighters considerably more difficult and in some cases even impossible,” it said in a statement late Monday evening. The deputy forest fire protection officer Philipp Haase said that the darkness also made extinguishing work more difficult, which is why only limited extinguishing measures were possible at night. However, the fire is also less active at night because of the calmer air conditions.
Because of the major fire, the administrative staff of the district had ordered the evacuation of Rehfeld on Monday evening, around 200 people were affected. Later, this precautionary measure was also ordered for Kölsa and Kölsa-Siedlung in the town of Falkenberg (Elster). Around 400 people are affected there. According to Haase, the evacuation was difficult because some residents refused to leave their homes.
Deutsche Bahn interrupted traffic between Leipzig and Cottbus because of the fire. The section between Torgau and Falkenberg (Elster) of the RE10 line was affected, the railway said on Tuesday morning. The stops are omitted because the fire brigade is on duty there due to an embankment fire.
Alternatively, buses should run between Falkenberg (Elster) and Torgau. According to the spokesman, train traffic should remain interrupted until midday.
The fire had spread from 10 hectares in the early Monday afternoon to around 100 hectares within a very short time. In one case, wind turbines are located on or near the affected areas. The fire was classified as a major damage situation, so the district took over the management of the operation.
In the course of the operation, seven emergency services were injured, six of them were taken to the hospital. In addition, a pig fattening facility in the Kölsa settlement burned down, many animals died.
The biggest forest fire of the year so far in Elbe-Elster and Brandenburg occurred at the end of June on the border with Saxony in Gohrischheide – around 20 kilometers away. The fire had spread in the direction of Mühlberg (Elbe-Elster) in Brandenburg. More than 800 hectares were at times in flames. The locations of Kröbeln and Kosilenzien in the town of Bad Liebenwerda had to be evacuated in the meantime.
Areas north of Berlin near Gransee were also affected on Monday. There, the fire brigade in the district of Oberhavel fought a fire on around 60 hectares of fields and forests. It was contained and is now under control, said the forest fire protection expert on Monday. Around 100 emergency services were on site, and a police helicopter flew over the area on Monday with a thermal imaging camera.
In Kölsa and Kölsa-Siedlung the fire had moved up to 400 meters to the local situation on Monday evening, it was said. The district announced that the fire had now moved up to 150 meters to the Rehfeld site. The fire had previously been classified as a major damage situation, so the operation was managed by the district.
Among other things, helicopters from the Bundeswehr have been requested for Tuesday, said Haase. A police helicopter was also requested to investigate the situation.
The emergency services of the fire brigade in Brandenburg are currently fighting several forest fires – some of which were caused by arson. The police said that this was the case with a series of fires in the Oranienburg area (Oberhavel).
Within a few days there had been numerous small fires in close proximity to each other. Traces have been secured, said Christin Knospe, spokeswoman for the police department north of the German Press Agency on Monday. “We check the connections.”
According to the Ministry of the Environment, human activity causes more than 90 percent of all forest fires with up to 99 percent of the areas damaged by forest fires. “That causes us massive problems,” reported Deputy Forest Fire Protection Officer Philipp Haase on Monday.
According to the Ministry of the Environment, the highest level of forest fire risk was five in almost the entire country on Monday. Only in Potsdam-Mittelmark was the second highest level four. Brandenburg has a forest area of around 1.1 million hectares.
In the Lieberoser Heide, the emergency services are still doing post-extinguishing work after the big fire on an area of 90 hectares three weeks ago. There are still up to 20 smaller fires, said Haase.