When fighting the large forest fire in southern Brandenburg, the number of emergency services is increased. As the Elbe-Elster district announced on Thursday evening, an additional fire protection unit was requested. The number of emergency services in the area near the state border with Saxony rose from 300 to 400 on Friday.
“The current challenge in the major fire in Kölsa-Rehfeld is still to track down embers in good time and then prevent open fire from developing,” said a spokesman for the district in the evening. This happened several times during the day. Overall the situation is stable. “But there is still no reason to give the all-clear.”
The firefighting is currently covering an area of 550 to 600 hectares, said the district spokesman. For the time being, the administrative staff is sticking to the so-called major damage situation, because regional emergency services and capacities are still urgently needed and the situation cannot be managed with their own forces.
The fight against the flames continued unabated on Thursday. The fire flared up again in the south of the area of operation due to hot embers, the Elbe-Elster district announced on Thursday afternoon.
A Bundeswehr helicopter fights the flames from the air with water tanks that can hold up to 5,000 liters. The water is drawn from the nearby Kiebitzsee, which is currently closed to bathers.
On the ground, a Bundeswehr armored personnel carrier provided support to create paths for the fire-fighting crews through the impassable terrain and to cut aisles so that the flames could no longer spread so quickly. Another tank is expected for Friday.
Around 300 emergency services from several parts of Brandenburg fought the flames on Thursday. The situation in the operational area of the city of Falkenberg is under control, it was said on Thursday morning. Because the situation could not be managed with one’s own forces, emergency services were requested from other parts of the state.
The situation in the fire area remains dynamic. The fire also flared up on Wednesday evening. According to the information, numerous embers with temperatures between 40 and 180 degrees are currently under observation. They would have to be kept in check, the administrative staff said.
At the same time, a police helicopter explored the area using a thermal camera to identify the main areas of operation and is to survey the area again. A difficulty in the extinguishing work is that areas are contaminated with ammunition. A bomb discovery from Saxony reported on Wednesday ultimately turned out to be a mistake.
In the Walbrandzentrale Süd in Wünsdorf, the employees are highly sensitized. “We continue to perceive smoke from the area of operation,” said the state’s deputy forest fire protection officer, Philipp Haase, of the dpa on Thursday.
Now the focus must be placed on the surrounding areas in the forest fire area in order to be able to react quickly to new fires. “Nothing would be more fatal than if we said now: Because of the major damage situation, there are enough fire brigades”. The head office is in constant contact with the Lausitz control center in order to analyze the fire situation precisely and to be able to distinguish between possible new fires and plan operations.
Forest scientist Alexander Held, meanwhile, considers new approaches to fighting forest fires in Germany to be necessary. “What we are seeing now in terms of fire behavior is typically seen in Spain and Portugal. We’re just lagging behind in terms of training, strategy, tactics, but also equipment,” said Held on the phoenix television station.
[If you want to have all the latest news live on your mobile phone, we recommend our app, which you can download here for Apple and Android devices.]
The topic is known and new training concepts and documents are being worked on together with fire service schools. However, one is being “overtaken on the right” by the current development. Held is an expert in forest risk management at the European Forest Institute (EFI).