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Big fire in the Harz Mountains: pure nature, reforestation and fire protection

2022-08-19T13:12:22.266Z

Big fire in the Harz Mountains: pure nature, reforestation and fire protection Created: 08/19/2022, 13:10 Roland Pietsch, head of the Harz National Park, stands in front of a charred forest area. © Klaus-Dietmar Gabbert/dpa A week ago, hundreds of firefighters fought the flames in the Harz National Park near Schierke. The fire is out, the cleanup is underway. In the national park, the question



Big fire in the Harz Mountains: pure nature, reforestation and fire protection

Created: 08/19/2022, 13:10

Roland Pietsch, head of the Harz National Park, stands in front of a charred forest area.

© Klaus-Dietmar Gabbert/dpa

A week ago, hundreds of firefighters fought the flames in the Harz National Park near Schierke.

The fire is out, the cleanup is underway.

In the national park, the question arises: what happens next?

Schierke - A sooty smell is still in the air, the last fire hoses are unfurled along the way, the spruce trunks tower black into the sky.

Many broke off on their own.

Others were sawed off to protect the emergency services.

A week ago the dead spruce trees were burning and glowing like torches.

With an affected area of ​​3.6 hectares, it was the largest fire in the Harz National Park to date, as National Park Manager Roland Pietsch said on Friday.

The plumes of smoke could be seen from afar.

Hundreds of firefighters were involved in the extinguishing work, and "fire out" could only be reported on Sunday.

Luckily nobody got hurt.

Fire guards have been on the lookout for embers in the past few days, which continue to pose a danger.

In the meantime the situation has calmed down.

Unlike when the fire broke out, the highest level of forest fire risk is no longer 5, but 3. The steam locomotives of the Harz narrow-gauge railways have been running on the Brocken again since Friday.

As a reaction to the major fire, they had only used diesel locomotives between Drei Annen Hohne and the Brocken station that week.

The fire is said to have broken out near the railway line.

So it's time to think about how to proceed.

National Park Manager Roland Pietsch looks at the charred trunks.

They belong to the part of the national park where human intervention is kept to a minimum.

Nature is left to itself - it will also return to this area.

Scientists would investigate this in terms of fire ecology.

"A national park is also a science area," says Pietsch.

It will turn green again very quickly, the soil is fertilized with the ashes.

“The birch will appear very quickly, as well as grass and bushes.

I think if we go there in a year, it will look like a beautiful, green, lush lawn.” Pietsch and his colleagues have already made one observation: “It has also become a tourist highlight in the meantime.”

On the other side of the path, the national park saw off many dead spruce trunks.

On the one hand, this should prevent the flames from spreading, on the other hand, new plants should be planted there.

Books should be there in the future, said Pietsch.

And also a little further in the direction of the Schierker train station, the national park has cleared several hectares of dead wood in a large operation with heavy forestry equipment and provided safety with the aisle.

On Friday, workers were still there moving trunks away.

Immediately after the fire, the call for even more aisles for fire protection in the national park was heard.

A working group should develop a plan where they are needed.

Pietsch relies on using the existing road network.

They might need to be expanded a bit.

“What will definitely not happen is that we are going through a chessboard-like pattern of firebreaks here.

This is not necessary, also for security reasons, and ultimately not feasible.

Because it is a protected area according to international standards and if we were to intervene massively here, this protected area would also lose its reputation as a tourist hotspot and thus its label.” The question is: can it still be a national park if you intervene so strongly ?

Dead spruces can be seen all around.

The monoculture created by humans is a fundamental problem of the 25,000 hectare Harz National Park.

Spruce makes up around 80 percent of the tree population, says Pietsch.

Of these, 85 to 90 percent died.

Drought and pests such as the bark beetle are among the reasons.

And then the tall spruces, which belong to the flat-rooted species, cannot withstand the massive storms and fall down in rows.

Partly reforested, partly the natural development is awaited.

During the conversation with the national park director, a narrow-gauge railway train can be seen in the background, pulled by the steam locomotive.

Pietsch sees a detailed search for the cause of the forest fire as necessary.

You also have to look at the narrow-gauge railways.

He finds it consistent and right that the HSB no longer drives steam locomotives to the Brocken at forest fire risk level 5.

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"But I would like it to be suspended in principle even in the case of 4, before all causes have been ruled out," said Pietsch.

There must be an honest and deep analysis.

From Pietsch's point of view, investigations with thermal imaging cameras are conceivable with a view to flying sparks.

HSB spokesman Dirk Bahnsen says they are very interested in clarifying the matter and are actively involved.

However, the HSB has also been running steam locomotives on the Brocken for almost 30 years and has never been identified as the cause of the fire.

There shouldn't be any prejudice.

dpa

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2022-08-19

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