Smoke rises above sailing boats on Lake Wannsee in the harbor of Spandau outside Berlin. An explosion at a former ammunition depot has caused wildfires in Berlin’s Grunewald Forest.Reuters
A large fire broke out in one of Berlin’s largest urban forests on Thursday morning. This was due to several explosions in an ammunition depot in the forest on what is predicted to be one of the hottest days of the year.
About 100 firefighters were battling blazes in the forests of the German capital Grunewald, west of the city, German news agency dpa reported.
The fire spread rapidly, and massive explosions were heard from where old World War II ammunition, fireworks, and explosive weapons were stored and controlled explosions were made.
“The situation is dangerous,” Thomas Karstein of the Berlin Fire Department told reporters. He called on residents to stay away from the forest.
Due to flying debris and fear of further explosions, the fire department said it had not yet begun to systematically extinguish the flames, as emergency forces had to keep a distance of 1 kilometer (more than half a mile) from the blaze.
Berlin officials called for additional task forces to help put out the flames, including German special forces. Water cannons, helicopters and special evacuation tanks were also scheduled to be on the scene.
Commuter rail service to the west of the city was partially disrupted and one of the city’s most important highways, the Avus, was closed.
The homes were not directly threatened by the blazes, but the fire department said dry conditions in the forest and unusual heat, with a projected high of 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) on Thursday, caused the blazes to continue. He warned that it could spread further.