04.08.2022, Berlin: Feuerwehrkräfte sind in der Nacht im Einsatz an der Autobahnbrücke Hüttenweg, von wo Löschfahrzeuge zum Einsatz an die Brandstelle im Grunewald fahren. Am Morgen ist ein Feuer auf dem Sprengplatz der Polizei im Grunewald ausgebrochen. Durch den Brand ist es am frühen Abend erneut zu Explosionen gekommen. Foto: Christian Ender/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

The forest fire around the blasting site in Grunewald has led to a debate as to whether the Berlin fire brigade is adequately positioned. Christian Goiny, budget expert for the CDU parliamentary group in the House of Representatives, called for better equipment for the Berlin fire brigade. This is part of combating climate change, he told the Tagesspiegel.

He wants to see the fire in Grunewald as a “wake-up call”. “The Berlin fire brigade and forests are not equipped for an increasing fire hazard,” Goiny said. With longer operations like the current one, it also becomes clear how thin the staffing level is.

“The overload has long been clear,” said a spokesman for the German Fire Brigade Union (DFeuG) Berlin-Brandenburg. A report by the State Audit Office indicates an additional need of 1,000 jobs – and that under normal conditions.

Due to the large presence of the professional fire brigade on Thursday, dozens of members of the volunteer fire brigade in Berlin had also put themselves on duty to fill the departments in the city. The spokesman for the fire brigade union reports complaints from the volunteer fire brigade because they are so often and regularly requested for manning the guards.

The reason: colleagues from the professional fire brigade would have to occupy ambulances – and were then missing in the firefighting. In fact, according to official information, more volunteer firefighters than the professional firefighters were present in Grunewald on Friday night.

However, Niklas Schrader, interior expert for the Left Group, thinks that Berlin has taken the right path with the fire department in recent years. For large-scale operations, however, he still sees the need to coordinate more closely with the federal government and other federal states. “Here we could achieve a more efficient approach, for example through shared material,” he said.

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The Senate Interior Administration sees Berlin as well-armed: “The fire brigade is basically well prepared for all foreseeable operational situations in the city,” said a spokeswoman.

The consequences of the forest fire cannot yet be assessed. The internal administration also refers to 103 additional positions that are planned for the fire brigade in the double budget 2022/2023, 44 of them in the fire-fighting service.