After containing the large forest fire in the Brandenburg-Saxon border area, the fire brigade is also on the Brandenburg side on a large scale operation.
It is still particularly about fighting the numerous embers in the fire area near Mühlberg in the Elbe-Elster district, said the spokesman for the operations center, Clemens Fischer, on Sunday. “Flames keep flaring up at these danger spots everywhere,” he reported. Unfortunately, the expected rain did not materialize in the fire area.
Special teams are on the move with hoes and fire extinguishers to extinguish the deep-seated nests of embers with temperatures of 500 degrees and more, reported Fischer. Among them were 30 members of the @fire disaster control unit, the aid organization reported. A total of almost 300 workers are working in shifts in the fire area, said Fischer.
During the night, a helicopter with a thermal imaging camera supported the search for the embers, the spokesman reported. However, this could not fly over an ammunition-loaded area because shrapnel could be thrown up to 1000 meters into the air after an explosion.
According to Fischer, a joint management team has now been formed with the Saxon colleagues in the Neuburxdorf district of the city of Bad Liebenwerda to fight the forest fire.
The major fire broke out in Gohrischheide in Saxony on Thursday and spread towards Mühlberg on Friday. More than 800 hectares were at times in flames. In the meantime, two towns in Bad Liebenwerda had been evacuated.
In the Gohrischheide on the Saxon side, in the middle of the nature reserve, the firefighters couldn’t get to the fire. The two to three hectare fire is monitored from the air. “We have it under control for the time being,” said Operations Manager Heydel on Sunday morning.
The emergency services’ plan is for the fire to slowly eat its way through the heath. At the edge, it is then expected by the emergency services with fire engines.
The wind forecasts are currently favorable for this project. A police helicopter is used for surveillance. Around 140 helpers are now deployed on the Saxon side.
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A total of 800 hectares were affected by the forest fire, 350 of them on the Brandenburg side, said the spokesman for the Lausitz regional control center. In Brandenburg, 250 firefighters were still on duty on Saturday to track down embers. They were to be assisted by a federal police helicopter with a thermal imaging camera. Around 75 firefighters were on site in Saxony.
It is important to use the time window up to the higher temperatures expected for Sunday in order to eliminate as many danger spots as possible, said Norman Barth from the state fire brigade school. “It’s still smoking back there – that could mean open flames and flying sparks again tomorrow,” he explained on Saturday. This could quickly lead to wildfires again. “It cannot be ruled out that things will get tricky tomorrow.”
Brandenburg’s Interior Minister Michael Stübgen (CDU) also warned that the flames could flare up again. There is no longer an open fire, Stübgen said after visiting the technical operations center in Neuburxdorf (Elbe-Elster). “But the heat in the ground is still over 500 degrees and more, because the layer of humus is still smoldering and glowing here,” explained the minister. “And so the danger is not yet eliminated.”
Rainer Engel, a forest fire protection expert from Brandenburg, said the rain on Saturday night brought little relief. Rather, the fire simply burned out, especially on the arable land, when there was no more new food. “A 50-meter-wide protective strip was plowed along the fields to prevent the flames from spreading,” reported Engel. In addition, sprinkler systems would be set up at the edge of the fire area.
The forest fire protection experts were also concerned about the expected high temperatures of over 30 degrees on Sunday. “Then fires can flare up again at any time,” he said. On Saturday, the forest fire situation was comparatively low in all 14 districts due to the high humidity. Already on Monday, Engel expects the second highest warning level 4 nationwide. The risk of forest fires should also increase again in Saxony.
The major fire broke out on Thursday in the Gohrischer Heide area in Saxony and spread on Friday in the direction of Mühlberg (Elbe-Elster) in Brandenburg. More than 800 hectares were at times in flames. An interim evacuation of the local locations of Kröbeln and Kosilenzien in the city of Bad Liebenwerda was lifted again on Friday evening from 9 p.m.
On the Saxon side, the situation had eased a little earlier. There are no longer any large-scale flames and the fire is under control for the time being, said operations manager Matthias Heydel from the Zeithain fire brigade on Friday. “The worst is done for now.”
On Friday, the fire in the Gohrischheide area in Saxony had spread to Brandenburg over the course of the day, according to the district, due to the unfavorable wind conditions. In the afternoon, therefore, the major damage situation was declared, and Kosilenzien and Kröbeln were evacuated.
Around 800 hectares were at times in flames. There has never been a similarly large forest fire in the area, said the spokeswoman for the Zeithain fire department, Dorit Riedel. “We’ve never had anything like this here in recent years.”
The extinguishing work in Gohrischheide was made more difficult because some of the areas involved were munitions and the areas cannot be entered. “It’s an old military training ground. Emergency services who were on site reported that there were always small explosions,” said Riedel.
In the district of Elbe-Elster Brandenburg there was level 4 of the forest fire danger on Friday, especially in northern Brandenburg some districts were at the highest level 5. The second highest danger level also applied in the district of Meissen.
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.
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.