The forest fire in the Lieberoser Heide in Brandenburg has spread to around 50 hectares. Since the morning, the fire in the moor and forest area has increased by 37 hectares, and the extinguishing work is still in full swing, as the Dahme-Spreewald district announced on Tuesday evening.

“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 more and more difficult, ”said district fire chief Christian Liebe.

A total of 280 firefighters are currently involved in the extinguishing work, it said. Additional forces have been requested. Several helicopters are also in use. Since the area is polluted with ammunition, the fire brigade could not enter the area, but could only extinguish it from the edges.

District administrator Stephan Loge (SPD), who got an idea of ​​the situation himself, said after the announcement: “The situation is getting worse.” One is very grateful for the support from other districts. Loge emphasized: “Residents in neighboring communities are not affected. Evacuations are not required.”

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

After the forest fire broke out in the Lieberoser Heide in south-eastern Brandenburg, the fire brigade was prepared 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.

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 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.