Because of a large forest fire southwest of Berlin, more than 500 people have had to leave their villages in Brandenburg. Three places south of Potsdam were evacuated: Tiefenbrunnen, Klausdorf and Frohnsdorf. On Thursday night already an area as large as 400 football fields burned.
The fire had spread rapidly over a large forest area about 50 kilometers from the city limits of Berlin. Affected in the evening about 300 hectares in Brandenburg have been, said the forest fire protection official of the country, Raimund Engel. In the beginning there had only been more than five hectares of fire. According to Engel, the situation is "dramatic".
The fire on the circular boundary between Potsdam-Mittelmark near Treuenbrietzen and Teltow-Fläming near Niedergörsdorf to the south-west of Berlin extends to the ammunition-tax area, it said. This complicates the extinguishing work.
About 300 armed forces fought the enormous forest fire, said the Deputy District Administrator of Potsdam-Mittelmark, Christian Stein (CDU), on Thursday evening in Treuenbrietzen.
Four districts are involved in firefighting, the RBB reported: Potsdam-Mittelmark, Teltow-Fläming, Havelland and Elbe-Elster. The forces were replaced by new forces overnight, he said. Heavily wounded should not have existed yet. However, a firefighter had to be treated for smoke poisoning.
In addition, 30 to 40 police forces were deployed at night to secure the buildings of the evacuated villages.
According to the initial findings, the fire broke out in several places and covered a total of about 300 hectares of forest, Stein said. "We are trying to stop the fire." According to the troops, the largest body that burns is one kilometer wide and three kilometers long. Moreover, more places were on fire, said a spokesperson for the Brandenburg West police station.
The primary goal is to prevent the spread of flames on residential buildings. The fire department would also be supported by two fire-fighting helicopters by the federal police and the Bundeswehr at night, according to Stein, according to RBB. They had headlights on board and could also fly at night. In addition, two water cannons were available for the police to fight the fire from the ground.
Although there were gusts of wind in the early evening, it was almost windless around 11 o'clock, the deputy head of the district said. But this does not make the situation any easier: "The flames can now spread unhindered in all directions where there is still combustible material." In addition, the fire develops a "momentum" because of the heat.
A total of 540 people from Frohnsdorf, Klausdorf and Tiefenbrunnen were brought to safety. The victims were requested by announcements of loudspeakers to leave their homes. Much of it is lost for acquaintances, and the Treuenbrietzen town hall is also available for the night.
Residents in the area were also asked to keep windows and doors closed for smoke. The smoke column can be seen ten kilometers, said the police spokesman. the Firefighters try to get the fire under control. The weather does not help so far. "It would be nice if it rains."
Woidke wants to visit the region
"We have not even experienced that in war," said 76-year-old Anita Biedermann when she left her house in Frohnsdorf with a bag. Medications, identity cards and a coat – that would be enough, the pensioner said. She is not afraid. "There are so many great men here," Biedermann said with a glance at the firefighters and the troops of the Technical Assistance Agency. The night she now wants to spend in the town hall of Treuenbrietzen.
There was a heavy wait in the evening. Mats are in the gym, but nobody wanted to sleep in the beginning. In any case, only 21 people had made a report that wanted to use the emergency situation, said the head of the Bürgeramt, Ralf Gronemeier. Most of those affected stayed with acquaintances.
In the town hall countless citizens had reported that they had to accept strangers in seclusion, Gronemeier said. The pensioner Biedermann had such an offer – but refused. "We do not sleep, we do it", she says at a table in the gym – and toast with her neighbors with mineral water. At 6 o'clock, so her hope, she might return to her house.
Brandenburg head of the Dietmar Woidke government (SPD) announced that it would visit the affected region on Friday. The prime minister wants to get a picture of the situation in the morning, said government spokesman Florian Engels the German press agency on the night of Friday. For this Woidke has made an appointment with Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in the Uckermark.
Explosions in ammunition-taxed forest
According to the regional control center Brandenburg, there were already explosions due to the fire. The fire can cause more hand grenades or patterns to explode, the forces are scared. That is why the fire brigade does not come at all in some forest areas. Instead, it is set to save from the air.
The fire is located near the main road 102. In Brandenburg there has been little rain for months, nature is dry in vast stretches of land. The train service in local traffic was interrupted because of the fire, as the Deutsche Bahn announced. This was the regional train line 33 from Wannsee to Jüterbog.
During the evenings, the fire brigade in the city of Berlin also issued a warning about the consequences of the forest fire: in the southeast of the capital – initially in Treptow, Köpenick and Müggelheim – there was smoke in the air. "Similar ashes are possible."
Brandenburg is currently experiencing one of the worst forest fire years. Up to now, there have been more than 400 forest fires, said Forest Fire Protection Officer Engel this week. In the same way, the last numbers were the last at the beginning of the millennium. Of the fires, 691 hectares have already been affected this year – before the recent large fire with only 300 hectares. Especially the monocultures of pine forests can easily catch fire. (with dpa)