04.09.2022, Sachsen-Anhalt, Schierke: Mit Löschhubschraubern wird das Feuer am Brocken bekämpft. Insgesamt 5 Löschhubschrauber sind im Einsatz. Foto: Matthias Bein/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

Because of a forest fire near Schierke in the Harz National Park, the Brocken plateau and the immediate area around the Brocken have been closed. The fire that broke out on Saturday spread during the night of Sunday and was “not under control,” said the city of Wernigerode. The district administrator of the district of Harz, Thomas Balcerowski (CDU), declared the disaster.

According to the information, 62 hectares were covered by the forest fire by Sunday. Because of the fire, numerous hikers and visitors were brought to safety on the Brocken on Saturday. The fire reportedly broke out in an area that was difficult to access. As the city announced on Sunday, the town of Schierke is not threatened.

A total of 300 emergency services and five helicopters were deployed to fight the fire. Dozens of police officers secured the Brocken area and the access roads. Italy has sent two fire-fighting aircraft to Germany to provide support. The Canadair CL 415 machines took off in Rome on Sunday afternoon and made their way to Braunschweig-Wolfsburg Airport, as announced by the Italian civil defense.

The fire brigade aircraft, which can hold and drop more than 6,000 liters of water, have been requested as part of the European aid project “RescEU-IT” via the central coordination office in Brussels. Italy regularly provides its EU partners with aircraft and pilots to fight forest fires.

The district assumes that extinguishing work will take several days. Only about three weeks ago there was a fire in the Harz near the Brocken on about 13 hectares. Around 200 firefighters were on duty at the time.