With a fire-fighting helicopter, thermal imaging cameras and a large contingent of emergency services, the fire brigade on the Brandenburg-Saxon border is trying to get a forest fire under control on a total of 350 hectares.
According to the Lausitz control center, Kosilenzien – a district of Bad Liebenwerda in southern Brandenburg – is being evacuated, and two other places in Brandenburg and Saxony could also be in the pipeline.
According to the Elbe-Elster district fire chief, Steffen Ludewig, the extinguishing work is made more difficult by the fact that the burning area in Saxony is partly an area contaminated with explosive ordnance. Ever-changing winds continued to fuel the fires. “We’re trying to organize and stabilize the situation,” said Ludewig on Friday.
In addition, fire brigades from the Spree-Neisse district were requested. The fire brigade in Cottbus also supported. The fire was classified as a major damage situation, so the Elbe-Elster district in Brandenburg took over the management of the operation.
The extinguishing work would probably drag on for a while, a spokesman for the rescue control center in Dresden said. The fire broke out on Thursday. The fire was under control for a while, but then the wind fanned the flames again. The area was previously used for military purposes.
On Friday afternoon, the fire had 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.”
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.