A forest fire broke out on a site contaminated with ammunition in the Lieberoser Heide in southern Brandenburg. Explosive ordnance in the ground and the wind made extinguishing operations difficult. Emergency services cannot enter the heavily ammunition-loaded area, as the Dahme-Spreewald district announced on Monday afternoon.
A helicopter was used to extinguish the fire from the air. According to the district, an area of six hectares is affected by the fire. The Brandenburg forest fire protection officer Raimund Engel initially spoke of around ten hectares.
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“Due to the unfavorable wind conditions, the fire is spreading. We are working with all our strength to fight the fire,” said operations manager Christian Liebe, according to a statement from the district.
The fire was classified as a “major damage situation” in the afternoon. Localities and people are not in danger, the district said. According to the district, around 100 emergency services from several fire brigades have responded. In the Dahme-Spreewald district, the forest fire warning level is 4 and thus the second highest level.
At the end of June 2019, a fire raged on 100 hectares of the former military training area in the Lieberoser Heide. It took a week for the fire to be extinguished. The danger there remains high with the great drought and the current temperatures.
Brandenburg has the largest proportion of munitions contaminated areas in Germany. There are conversion areas – areas that are burdened by the withdrawal of Russian troops – as well as areas that were once used for military purposes. Ordnance from the Second World War is still suspected on 350,000 hectares.
There was also another fire on Sunday at the Saxon-Brandenburg state border. The police said on Monday that a fire had spread over about 1.5 hectares near Arzberg in the district of North Saxony. Volunteer fire brigades from Saxony and Brandenburg could have prevented further spread.
According to the fire department, self-ignition is unlikely. The police are now investigating arson. The extent of the damage was still unclear.