The major fire in the Gohrischheide on the state border of Saxony and Brandenburg spread to 450 hectares on Friday. There has never been a similarly large forest fire in the area, said the spokeswoman for the Zeithain fire brigade, Dorit Riedel. “We’ve never had anything like this here in recent years.”
On the Saxon side, around 160 emergency services from the fire brigade and technical relief organization are on site to contain the fire. A firefighting helicopter from the Bundeswehr supported the firefighting work from the air. A forest and heath area burned.
However, the emergency services would have withdrawn from the heath in the afternoon. It had become too dangerous there, said Riedel. The paths there are so narrow that only one vehicle can fit through. If the fire then comes from the front, the retreat could become too dangerous. It is currently a priority to protect the town of Nieska from the flames.
The ammunition load in the area is also problematic. “It’s an old military training ground. Emergency services who were on site reported that there were always small explosions,” said Riedel.
The villages of Kosilenzien and Kröbeln in the Elbe-Elster district have to be evacuated. This was announced by the forest fire protection officer of the state of Brandenburg Raimund Engel on Friday. Both villages belong to the town of Bad Liebenwerda. According to him, the fire is spreading. On the Saxon side, the town of Nieska (Meissen district) also has to be evacuated, reports the RBB.
The fire was classified as a major damage situation, said the district fire chief of Elbe-Elster, Steffen Ludewig. The wind is causing problems for the emergency services.
The fire broke out on Thursday. In the meantime, the fire was under control, but then the wind fanned the flames again, said a spokesman for the rescue control center in Dresden. The area was previously used for military purposes. There are still a number of duds in the ground.
The Gohrischheide north of Dresden in the Meißen district is a nature reserve that was set up on the former Zeithain military training area.
Ever-changing winds continued to fuel the fires. “We are trying to organize and stabilize the situation,” said district fire chief Ludewig. In addition, fire brigades from the Spree-Neisse district were requested. Emergency services from Cottbus were also on their way to the scene of the fire with three tank fire engines, a command vehicle and a crew transporter.
On Friday afternoon, the fire spread across the state border to Brandenburg. Fanned by strong winds from the south, the flames ran towards the village of Neuburxdorf (Elbe-Elster), said a spokesman for the Lausitz rescue control center. “There’s a cornfield on fire now,” he reported. The fire brigade was there with around 100 forces in action.
In the district of Elbe-Elster Brandenburg there was level 4 of the forest fire danger on Friday, especially in northern Brandenburg some districts were at the highest level 5. The second highest danger level also applied in the district of Meissen.
In Treuenbrietzen (Potsdam-Mittelmark district), the forest area has now been handed over to the private forest owners after the serious fire at the weekend. “You must now provide fire guards there and inform the fire brigades in the event of a fire,” said the district spokesman, Kai-Uwe Schwinzert, on Friday on request.
The nests of embers hidden in the forest floor near Beelitz (Potsdam-Mittelmark) had flared up again in the meantime, but could be extinguished and brought under control. “What we don’t need now is wind,” said Schwinzert. It could fan dangerous flames.
According to the information, two fire brigades were on duty in Beelitz during the night. Individual spots distributed over the forest area were affected. The fires were extinguished during the night, said Mayor Bernhard Knuth (independent). It is a “relaxed situation, but it requires some attention,” said Knuth.
The forest fire near Rheinsberg in the Ostprignitz-Ruppin district is also under control. However, a fire station has been set up on site in case a fire hazard should develop again, said a spokeswoman for the fire brigade.
The forest fire in the north of Brandenburg broke out on Thursday. According to the first information from the fire brigade, around five hectares of forest were on fire. The police spoke of two to three hectares.
In Rheinsberg in the district of Ostprignitz-Ruppin, the highest forest fire risk level 5 applies in addition to the district of Prignitz. The fire in the Schwanow district resulted in heavy smoke on Thursday.
The regional control center of the fire brigade issued a danger report. She called on residents in Rheinsberg and in Neuruppin to the south to keep windows and doors closed and to switch off ventilation and air conditioning. Fire brigades from the entire district were deployed. Rheinsberg with almost 8000 inhabitants is located in the Rheinsberg Lake District in northern Brandenburg and is a popular holiday area.
Last weekend there were two forest fires in Treuenbrietzen and Beelitz (Potsdam-Mittelmark district) south of Berlin. Hundreds of firefighters, supported by Bundeswehr soldiers, were deployed. About 200 hectares were in flames at a time. Firefighters continue to monitor developments on site.