The forest fire has continued to spread despite the extinguishing operation from the air. © Cevin Dettlaff/dpa
The dry weather and refreshing winds ensure a further expansion of the forest fire near Jüterbog. The fire brigade can only protect the surrounding villages. An extinguishing operation directly in the fire area would be too dangerous for the rescue forces.
Jüterbog - Refreshing winds have fanned the forest fire near Jüterbog south of Berlin and more than doubled the affected area to 326 hectares. "The flames are running towards the protective strips, but the fire brigade has the situation under control there," reported the head of the city's public order office, Christiane Lindner-Klopsch, on Monday afternoon. On Sunday, the fire brigade had estimated the affected area on the former military training area at more than 150 hectares.
However, not all of the affected forest area is on fire. However, the area on which flames are actually blazing has increased greatly from eight hectares in the morning during the day due to the wind, Lindner-Klopsch said. "However, we can no longer provide any precise information on this."
The protective strip in the southern area had been widened so that no flames would spread from the former military training area to villages, reported the head of the public order office. The firefighters are supplied with water from numerous wells and a large fire pond.
The former military training area is loaded with ammunition. On Sunday evening and Monday morning, ammunition was detonated several times on the fire area, Lindner-Klopsch reported. The use of fire-fighting helicopters or clearance tanks is also not effectively possible because of the size of the forest fire area, she said. Therefore, the firefighters cannot fight the fire in the area, but only keep the protective strips free at the edge to protect the villages.
Geoecologist Kirsten Thonicke from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research believes this is the right approach. "In this constellation, I would advocate just watching there and deleting it from the sidelines," she told RBB's Inforadio. In these cases, you have to learn to live with fire, Thonicke said. "And to understand the fire as a new beginning, (...), for a regrowth of natural areas, (...), I think we have to get used to that."
However, in view of the forest fire near Jüterbog, the Association for the Promotion of German Fire Protection called for the ammunition to be cleared as quickly as possible in the endangered areas. "In addition, it is necessary to procure protected vehicles," said their forest fire expert Ulrich Cimolino, according to the press release. In contrast to the Czech Republic, for example, Germany's public fire brigades have not yet had such vehicles that could be stationed at Bundeswehr fire brigade locations.
In view of the persistent drought, Brandenburg's forest fire protection officer Raimund Engel does not expect the situation to ease in the short term. "Even if there should be some precipitation in southern Brandenburg in the coming days, this will hardly change the risk of forest fires," Engel said on Monday on request.
On Tuesday, a low-pressure area is expected to move in from the southeast, but only provide little rain, Engel reported. He is concerned that the risk of forest fires for Brandenburg could then be downgraded from the current level 4 (high danger) to 3 (medium danger) because of the increased humidity, he said. "This would not reflect the real situation, which remains extremely dangerous." dpa