Large fire breaks out in Berlin forest after blast in munitions store
Published: Aug 04, 2022 10:24 PM
A huge fire  broke out Thursday in a popular forest in western Berlin next to a police munitions storage site, sending plumes of smoke into the skies and setting off intermittent explosions. 

The army sent in a tank aimed at evacuating munitions at the affected storage site as well as remote-controlled de-mining robots, while drones were circling the air to help assess the emergency.

The situation is "extremely extraordinary with munitions," said Berlin fire brigade spokesperson Thomas Kirstein, adding that it was "under control and there was no danger for Berliners." 

Firefighters called to the site in the middle of the night were confronted with intermittent blasts that sent debris flying and hindered their work. 

They have so far been able to begin tackling only two of the four hotspots across the affected area of 15,000 square meters, as explosions at the munitions store were still rocking the area.

No one has been hurt by the fires, which came on a day when a new heat wave was due to envelop Germany.

Officials have built a security cordon to allow firefighters to start working around a kilometre from the ammunition storage zone. 

The store holds munitions uncovered by police, but also unexploded World War II-era ordnance which is regularly dug up during construction works.

Police said they were investigating what set off the fire.

Authorities appealed for the public to avoid the forest, popular with both locals and tourists, as several regional rail lines have been halted.

But authorities said no firefighting choppers were available as they were ­already in use to calm forest fires in ­eastern Germany.

The German capital is rarely hit by forest fires, even though its 29,000 hectares of forests make it one of the greenest cities in the world. 

Brandenburg, the region surrounding Berlin, as well as parts of eastern Germany have for days been battling forest fires.