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Explosions, ‘unprecedented’ fire hit Berlin forest


The affected area of 15,000 square metres (161,500 square feet) includes a storage site for police ammunition.

An “unprecedented” fire broke out Thursday around a German police munitions storage site in a popular forest in western Berlin, sending plumes of smoke into the skies and setting off explosions.

Firefighters were unable to tackle the blaze directly due to the danger of further blasts, with emergency services setting up a 1,000-metre (3,280-foot) safety zone around the site.

Around 250 emergency personnel were deployed to the site.

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Water cannons were also deployed around the safety zone to prevent the fire from spreading.

Giffey advised Berliners to close their windows but said the danger was minimal as there were no residential buildings within a two-kilometre (1.2-mile) radius and so no need to issue evacuation orders.

“It would be much more difficult if there were residential buildings nearby,” she said.

No one has been hurt by the fires, which came as a heatwave enveloped Germany.

Police said they were investigating what set off the fire.

Giffey said local authorities would “have to think about how to deal with this munitions site in the future and whether such a place is the right one in Berlin”.

– Forest fires –

They also said the 1,000-metre safety zone applied to the air, so there was a limit to how useful it would be to drop water on the fire from above.

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

Heavy thunderstorms are then due to sweep into the country from the west on Friday, the German weather service said.

dac-fec/hmn/jm

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