Large parts of the fire in Berlin’s Grunewald forest have now been extinguished – but reaching the munitions store where the blaze started remains a major problem, according to the Berlin fire department.
During the night, firefighters fought wildfires around the site, spokesman Thomas Kirstein said on Friday.
“The fires have been almost extinguished during the morning,” Kirstein said, adding that only smaller fires now remain on the ground. The fire burned on an area of about 42 hectares – around the size of 100 football pitches.
The focus of Friday’s work is the site of the explosion, around which police have place a cordon with a radius of 1,000 meters due to the risk of explosions. “We must expect detonations and flying debris to continue,” the fire department said.
According to Kirstein, the goal is to now get a more accurate picture of the situation at the blast site after the fire department, police and the Bundeswehr (army) held a situation briefing in the morning.
An armoured vehicle borrowed from the German army will be used to approach the site and get a first impression from the outer perimeter in order to make an assessment.
In addition, the fire department has requested a firefighting tank from a private company, which is used in areas with explosion hazards. Three robots from Lower Saxony, which can also extinguish flames, are to drive into the exclusion zone toward the blast site. Additional recovery tanks from the Bundeswehr will also be deployed.
Kirstein emphasized that for the fire department this fire is a “very special situation and challenge.” Some 150 firefighters are still in action at the site.
A change in the weather on on Friday morning has brought mixed news. A breeze brought in by a new cooler front could lead the fire to flare up again although some rain is forecast for the evening.
The fire has brought major disruption to Berlin’s transport network, with the main motorway into the city from the south still closed on Friday morning. The S7 line between Grunewald and Wannsee also remained out service on Friday morning.