Firefighters continue to fight against the forest fire in the Lieberoser Heide in southeastern Brandenburg. According to the fire brigade on Wednesday afternoon, the forest fire has now spread to 66 hectares and, according to the fire brigade, will continue to spread. 280 forces were deployed.

“The situation has developed dynamically over the course of the day. The shifting wind and the persistent drought are causing us difficulties. The condition of the path is also becoming increasingly difficult,” said district fire chief Christian Liebe on Tuesday evening.

Several helicopters were also in action. Since the area is polluted with ammunition, the fire brigade could not enter the area, but could only extinguish it from the edges.

The fire broke out on Monday, and on Tuesday afternoon a district spokeswoman spoke of a 30-hectare fire area.

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After the forest fire broke out in the Lieberoser Heide in south-eastern Brandenburg, the fire brigade was prepared for a longer-lasting mission. Head of operations Christian Liebe said on Tuesday that, in his estimation, the firefighting would last at least until Wednesday. Rain is only announced for Thursday.

On Tuesday morning, the operations management had spoken of a 13-hectare fire area. “The emergency services have the situation on site under control,” said the spokeswoman for the Dahme-Spreewald district. 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 at the 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.

The managing director of the Brandenburg Natural Landscape Foundation, Andreas Meißner, fears that the forest fire in the Lieberose Heide will cause permanent damage to animals and plants that are worthy of protection. “What is happening there hurts my soul,” said the moor expert from the German Press Agency in Potsdam. Habitat for rare plants and animal species as well as centuries-old moor history were lost. “This is an absolutely painful loss for me personally.”

According to its own information, the Brandenburg Natural Landscape Foundation secures four former military training areas for nature conservation, including a 3,150-hectare area in the Lieberose Heide. There is a fire in a bog area. The fire broke out on Monday. In the area, there is a habitat that is particularly worthy of protection, with plant species such as rosemary heather and three rare sundew species, said Meißner.

In the course of climate change with ever drier and hotter summers, the risk of fire is also increasing, according to the expert. “Burning bogs are a huge loss from an ecological point of view. If peat burns there, they lose centuries or even millennia of peat growth.” Peat can only develop if there is a sustained excess of water. It is also an important store of carbon dioxide (CO2).