According to the authorities, the major fire in Gohrischheide (Meissen district), which reached as far as Brandenburg, was intentionally started and caused damage in the tens of millions. Residues of fire accelerants that had been used to ignite surfaces were found in three places in Saxony – even while the fire was being extinguished.
According to information on Friday, the police and the public prosecutor’s office in Dresden are investigating suspected arson against previously unknown perpetrators.
A spokesman said it was still unclear whether it was one or more people. According to the findings of the investigators, on the afternoon of June 23 “before 3.10 p.m. in a currently unknown manner at least four places in the landscape conservation area Gohrischheide and Elbniederterrasse Zeithain near Gröditz heath and forest areas” were ignited in the evening and night of June 25 then “in at least two other places”. According to initial estimates, damage to property was around 13.5 million euros.
Due to the extreme drought and dense vegetation, the fire quickly spread northwards and across the border over an area of at least 900 hectares. It was only under control last Monday.
“It’s still burning in part of the Gohrischheide,” said head of operations Matthias Heydel on Friday of the German Press Agency. In the rest of the area there are embers and fire guards.
The major fire broke out on Thursday last week and spread towards Mühlberg (Brandenburg) on Friday. The heat and the shifting wind had made it difficult to extinguish the fire, the fire had spread in several places along the paths that border the fire area. With the help of three firefighting helicopters, it was repeatedly pushed back and the evacuation of districts avoided.
In the ammunition-loaded area, which used to be a military training area and where there is a risk of explosion, an armored forest moving machine helps to contain the flames. The large device can also be filled with 4000 liters of extinguishing water. The armored recovery vehicles of the Bundeswehr, which have been supporting the emergency services since the beginning of the week, have withdrawn again, said Heydel.