Fire triggered by explosions rages in big Berlin city forest

Aug 3, 2022, 12:31 PM | Updated: Aug 4, 2022, 7:02 am
This video still image shows an explosion at a blasting site inside the Grunewald forest in Berlin,...

This video still image shows an explosion at a blasting site inside the Grunewald forest in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. A large fire has broke out in one of Berlin's biggest forests triggered by several explosions that took place on a blasting site inside the forest leading to canceled public transportation and the closure of several roads. (Michael von Rein, Haustechnik - Corbusierhaus via AP)

(Michael von Rein, Haustechnik - Corbusierhaus via AP)

BERLIN (AP) — A large fire triggered by explosions at an ammunition dump raged Thursday in a major Berlin urban forest on one of the German capital’s hottest days so far this year.

A huge cloud of grey smoke hung over the city’s western districts and residents were asked to keep windows and doors shut. A major highway was closed and a train service interrupted, but authorities said no homes or inhabitants were under direct threat.

More than 100 firefighters, dozens of soldiers and police officers were battling the blaze in the Grunewald forest, located in west Berlin.

In addition, army tanks cut corridors into the forest to contain the fire and allow firefighters to get closer to the flames. The army also sent in a remote-controlled robot with four cameras and a grappler that can be used to detect and eliminate ordnance.

Water cannons were also on the scene and firefighters drew water from the nearby Havel river to extinguish the flames.

“The situation is dangerous,” Thomas Kirstein from the Berlin fire department told reporters earlier Thursday.

Massive explosions were heard in the morning from the site where old ammunition from World War II, fireworks and explosive ordnance is stored and controlled explosions are carried out.

Kirstein said it was not clear what had triggered the first explosions at the ammunition dump early Thursday. The site belongs to the Berlin police. It was created in 1950, and before Thursday’s explosions around 25 metric tons of fireworks, World War II ammunition and other explosive ordnance was stored there, the German news agency dpa reported. Controlled blasts are scheduled there twice a year for several days at a time.

Kirstein called on residents to stay away from the forest and authorities declared a one-kilometer (more than half a mile) exclusion zone around the ammunition dump. Due to flying debris and the threat of further explosions, the fire department said it could not systematically extinguish the fire as emergency forces were also not allowed to enter the exclusion zone. Firefighters on the scene were initially pouring water on the forest outside the banned area around the ammunition dump trying to prevent the blaze from spreading further.

They were also planning to get aerial images by flying a drone over the ammunition dump to better be able to judge the situation.

“The plan is to get a new situation assessment from the blast site — initially from the air,” Kirstein said. According to first estimates an area of 1.5 hectares was burning all around the ammunition dump.

Berlin Mayor Franziska Giffey cut short her vacation to visit the scene and thank the emergency personnel for their efforts. She made clear that no homes or residents were threatened, but also said city authorities needed to seriously talk about moving the ammunition dump out of the vicinity of the city of 3.65 million residents.

The commuter train service to the city’s west was partially interrupted and one of the city’s most important highways, the Avus, was closed. Homes were not directly threatened by the flames but the fire department warned that the fire could further spread due to the dry conditions of the forest and the exceptional heat expected on Thursday with temperatures of up to 38 degrees Celsius (100 Fahrenheit).

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - The OpenAI logo is seen on a mobile phone in front of a computer screen displaying output fr...
Associated Press

Musk, scientists call for halt to AI race sparked by ChatGPT

Are tech companies moving too fast in rolling out powerful artificial intelligence technology that could one day outsmart humans?
1 day ago
Associated Press

Starbucks leader grilled by Senate over anti-union actions

Longtime Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz faced sharp questioning Wednesday before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
2 days ago
FILE - The overdose-reversal drug Narcan is displayed during training for employees of the Public H...
Associated Press

FDA approves over-the-counter Narcan; here’s what it means

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved selling naloxone without a prescription, the first over-the-counter opioid treatment.
2 days ago
FILE - A Seattle police officer walks past tents used by people experiencing homelessness, March 11...
Associated Press

Seattle, feds seek to end most oversight of city’s police

  SEATTLE (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department and Seattle officials asked a judge Tuesday to end most federal oversight of the city’s police department, saying its sustained, decade-long reform efforts are a model for other cities whose law enforcement agencies face federal civil rights investigations. Seattle has overhauled virtually all aspects of its police […]
3 days ago
capital gains tax budgets...
Associated Press

Washington moves to end child sex abuse lawsuit time limits

People who were sexually abused as children in Washington state may soon be able to bring lawsuits against the state, schools or other institutions for failing to stop the abuse, no matter when it happened.
3 days ago
Three children and three adults were killed in a shooting at a private Christian grade school in Na...
Associated Press

Nashville shooter who killed 6 drew maps, surveilled school

Three children were killed in a shooting at a private Christian grade school in Nashville on Monday, hospital officials said.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.
Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Fire triggered by explosions rages in big Berlin city forest