NewsForest fires in Germany: disaster alert in Saxony, major...

Forest fires in Germany: disaster alert in Saxony, major damage situation in Brandenburg

Created: 07/27/2022 11:03 am

Mit Hubschraubern wird ein Waldbrand im tschechischen Nationalpark Böhmische Schweiz in Hrensko nahe der Grenze zu Sachsen gelöscht.
A forest fire in the Czech National Park Bohemian Switzerland in Hrensko near the border with Saxony is extinguished with helicopters. © Robert Michael/dpa

Numerous forest fires keep Germany in suspense. Brandenburg and Saxony in particular are currently affected. The number of forest fires is nearing a record.

Update from Wednesday, July 27, 10:45 a.m .: The fight against the flames continues in the forest fire areas in southern Brandenburg and in the Saxon Switzerland National Park, but the situation eased somewhat on Wednesday night. In both areas, the spread of the fire had been prevented, it said on request.

In Saxon Switzerland, the situation in two out of five fire areas is still tense, said the spokesman for the Saxon Switzerland-Eastern Ore Mountains district office, Thomas Kunz. “The area is rugged and not easy to get to,” said Kunz. In addition, dead wood and the weather made firefighting more difficult. The fire currently covers about 250 hectares.

Forest fire in munitions-loaded areas: expert calls for extinguishing tanks

In the south of Brandenburg, the flames had receded somewhat, as Thomas Trodler from the management staff of the fire brigade in the Elbe-Elster district said on Wednesday morning. An area of around 850 hectares is still affected, but a hot fire with flames and smoke is only raging over an area of around 500 hectares. The missions in two sections where ammunition is suspected to be in the ground are still particularly problematic. “Here, for safety reasons, the firefighters can only fight the fire from the paths,” said Trodler. In addition, a armored recovery vehicle from the Bundeswehr works aisles in the forest, on which other emergency vehicles can then travel safely.

The fire ecologist Johann Georg Goldammer considers the use of extinguishing tanks to be useful in forest fires in munitions-loaded areas. In the TV program rbb24 special on the forest fire in Elbe-Elster, the expert said on Tuesday evening that he did not understand why no extinguishing tanks had been used in Brandenburg this year.

Forest fires in Germany: the situation is coming to a head

First report from Tuesday, July 26: Frankfurt – It is hot in Germany and it rains very little – the risk of forest fires is currently high. If you look at the map of Germany from the EU forest fire information system EFFIS, you can see numerous red dots – the satellites recognize regions from their orbits that are significantly hotter than the surrounding area and mark them as forest fires. For the year 2022, EFFIS has already recorded 21 forest fires in Germany with a burned area of more than 3300 hectares (as of July 26, 2022). The year 2022 is far from over and is currently only exceeded by the values from 2018, when 33 wildfires burned 3622 hectares of land.

Brandenburg in particular is repeatedly affected. The emergency services are currently particularly concerned about a forest fire in Falkenberg (Elbe-Elster district). A freshening wind could ensure that the fire spreads faster there. Around 350 emergency services are fighting the fire, according to official information about 850 hectares of land are affected. It is currently not foreseeable when the fire can be brought under control, the fire is considered a major loss situation. In order to protect them from the fire, numerous residents from the towns of Kölsa, Kölsa-Siedlung and Rehberg have already been brought to safety, and the evacuation of Lönnewitz is being considered. A problem with the extinguishing work: The affected area is partly loaded with ammunition.

Forest fires in Germany: Brandenburg and Saxony particularly affected

There is also a fire in Saxony: due to a forest fire in the Saxon Switzerland National Park, a disaster alarm was triggered for Bad Schandau. The size of the affected area is unclear as it is rocky and impassable. The fire spread from Bohemian Switzerland National Park in the Czech Republic to Saxon Switzerland National Park on Monday (July 25), while the situation on the other side of the border worsened dramatically.

Expert on forest fires: Germany is a forest fire country

There had already been a fire in Brandenburg: In June, several hundred firefighters were deployed in Treuenbrietzen and Beelitz (both in the Potsdam-Mittelmark district) to stop two forest fires. And there are always fires in the Rhine-Main area as well – only recently the local fire brigades fought a large forest fire near Hanau.

Somidh Saha from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology assumes that Germany is now a forest fire country. As a result of climate change, we are now experiencing stronger heat waves and droughts, and so the risk of fire is also increasing, according to the expert. There are also numerous fires in southern Europe. (tab/sne/dpa)

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