A large fire has erupted in Grunewald, Berlin’s largest forest. Explosions at a location used for the detonation of explosives and ammunition are the cause. A hundred firefighters were on site in the early morning.
Berlin, August 4th, 2022. Update: 11:51 a.m. CEDT (The Berlin Spectator) — The Berlin Fire Department is working on extinguishing a forest fire at Grunewald. At a site for the controlled detonation of bombs and ammunition in Berlin’s largest forest, explosions were reported. They seem to be the cause for the major fire that developed in the early morning hours.
Before 6:00 a.m. on Thursday, the Fire Department said it had sent 100 firefighters to the location. They had requested reinforcement. This is not the first forest fire in the region this summer, but the first one within Berlin’s city limits. The Grunewald forest is located in the southwestern part of the German capital, between the city center and Potsdam, the capital of neighboring Brandenburg.
This will be one of the hottest days of the year, with up to 37 degrees Centigrade (99 degrees Fahrenheit). Along with the draught in the region, this aspect is not exactly helping the firefighters. An area of 1.5 hectare (161,458 square feet) is affected. Nobody was injured, according to preliminary reports.
Residents around Grunewald were told to keep their windows and doors closed because of the smoke. A/Cs are supposed to be switched off. People were ordered not to enter Grunewald under any circumstances.
The police had to shut down the Avus, a city highway that runs through Grunewald, in both directions. It will likely remain closed all day long. The Funkturm freeway junction and the Zehlendorf interchange are closed too. This will definitely lead to severe traffic problems. On top of it all, the ‘S-Bahn’ (city train) line S7 was shut down between the ‘Grunewald’ and ‘Wannsee’ stations. Regional and long-distance trains are not moving through Grundewald either.
A thick cloud of smoke could be seen from several parts of Berlin, including its Kreuzberg borough. Germany’s armed forces, the Bundeswehr, have reportedly been asked to provide help. At least one helicopter is supposed to join the efforts. At least on of the Berlin Police Department’s weater cannons is being used too. According to the Berlin Fire Department, homes are not in danger. The next ones were about 2 kilometers (1.24 miles) away and would be protected, a spokesperson stated.
In the late morning, a spokesman for the Fire Department said nobody could get near the ammunition site at this stage. Footage filmed by a drone and a helicopter is supposed to help the firefighters assess the situation. Shortly before noon local time, the situation was still out of control, with occasional explosions at the ammunition site. The question what or who caused the explosions and the fire in the first place cannot be answered yet.