Forest fire rages in Berlin's Grunewald amid explosions at munitions facility-Xinhua

Forest fire rages in Berlin's Grunewald amid explosions at munitions facility

Source: Xinhua| 2022-08-05 02:30:15|Editor: huaxia

BERLIN, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- Firefighters are battling a blaze that broke out in Berlin's Grunewald forest early Thursday morning, followed by numerous explosions at a police munitions storage facility.

Some 15,000 square meters of forest are burning, the fire department of the German capital said on Twitter, adding that "explosions are occurring." A restricted area of around 1,000 meters was set up around the perimeter of the fire.

A police helicopter and a drone are supporting the coordination of the operation. The fire department said a firefighting helicopter and armored vehicles from the German armed forces were also called in.

Fire department spokesperson Thomas Kirstein said more information was needed on the state of the site, adding that "The operation will take a long time."

Meanwhile, Berlin fire department spokesperson James Klein told Deutsche Welle broadcasting service that Grunewald is used for the storage of ordnance, as well as fireworks and other objects that can explode.

The Grunewald munitions facility has been in operation since 1950. Alternative areas were either not available in Berlin or could not be approved, police said. "Areas in Brandenburg were also examined, but these could not offer comparable storage capacities."

Germany is currently being hit by a heatwave with record temperatures. With the exception of some coastal regions, the meteorological service (DWD) has warned of severe heat stress across the country.

"The forest is bone dry," said Jan Thomsen, spokesperson for the Berlin Senate's Department for Environment, Mobility, Consumer and Climate Protection. Forests have not been able to recover from droughts in previous years, he explained.