After the forest fire broke out in the Lieberoser Heide in the southeast of Brandenburg, the fire brigade is preparing for a longer-lasting mission.
Operations manager Christian Liebe said on Tuesday that, in his estimation, the firefighting would last at least until Wednesday. Rain is only announced for Thursday. Since the area is polluted with ammunition, the fire brigade cannot enter the area, but can only extinguish it from the edges.
The fire broke out in the Lieberoser Heide on Monday. According to information from Tuesday morning, the fire covered about 13 hectares. Even from the air, extinguishing is still carried out with the help of a helicopter.
“The emergency services have the situation on site under control,” said a spokeswoman for the Dahme-Spreewald district on Tuesday. There is no danger for the population either. District Administrator Stephan Loge, who got an idea of the situation himself, said: “Experience over the past few years shows us that the fire is insidious due to the imponderables and the high level of drought.”
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. Forest fire warning level 4 is currently in effect in the Dahme-Spreewald district – the second highest.
In view of the forest fires in Brandenburg, Forestry and Climate Protection Minister Axel Vogel (Greens) called for the forest to be converted more quickly with significantly more deciduous trees. There are still 80 percent pine forests. “Bringing in deciduous trees is the order of the day,” said Vogel on Tuesday on RBB Inforadio.
A total of 600,000 hectares of coniferous forest would have to be converted, but it is currently less than 5,000 hectares per year. That’s not enough. The conversion must be done within a generation because of climate change, said Vogel. “Otherwise we might soon have no more forests in Brandenburg.” In total, Brandenburg has more than one million hectares of forest areas.
Vogel spoke of the fourth drought year in five years. So far, 755 hectares of forest have already burned down, but the forest fire season is only just beginning. 80 percent of fires are caused by people, such as cigarettes or arson. In the meantime, however, the reporting system has been improved, most fires are discovered quickly and therefore remain very small.
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.