Smoke and flames at the former military training area in Lütheen. The use is considered difficult because old ammunition is lying in the ground, which has already detonated.Photo: Thomas Schulz/dpa
Fires broke out on former military training areas in Hagenow and Lübtheen. Local residents report detonations. Now a village with around 160 inhabitants had to be evacuated.
Fires broke out in quick succession on Monday at two former military training areas in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. In the vicinity of Lübtheen, where there was the largest forest fire in the state on almost 1000 hectares in 2019, around 90 hectares of forest were affected in the evening. According to a district spokesman, there were around 30 hectares in the Viezer Heide near Hagenow – also a former military training area. Both fire locations are east of Hamburg in the district of Ludwigslust-Parchim and are around 30 kilometers apart.
According to the spokesman, the village of Volzrade, which belongs to Lübtheen and has around 160 inhabitants, was evacuated on Monday evening as a precaution. Those who could not find accommodation with friends or relatives were given accommodation in the small town’s gymnasium. The fire was estimated to have been a kilometer from Volzrade in the evening. According to the spokesman, district administrator Stefan Sternberg (SPD) declared the disaster for Lübtheen.
Both fires broke out Monday afternoon. While the district spokesman was cautiously optimistic about the development at Hagenow, the situation at Lübtheen was difficult. In the evening, according to him, around 300 emergency services fought the fires at both fire sites, mainly volunteer firefighters from the region. The number is likely to increase further overnight, he said.
Both areas – near Lübtheen and near Hagenow – are contaminated with ammunition. At Hagenow, a Bundeswehr armored recovery vehicle is to widen aisles.
There were detonations of old ammunition
The fire at the former Lübtheen military training area broke out near a naval arsenal from World War II, the spokesman said. There were detonations of old ammunition. Lübtheen’s mayor Ute Lindenau (SPD) initially assumed that the fire had broken out on the site of the naval arsenal itself. The devastating fire of 2019 also originated in the area, she said. At that time, spontaneous combustion of old ammunition was the cause.
During the major fire in the summer of 2019, around 260 people had to temporarily leave their homes in the village of Alt Jabel. More than 3,000 firefighters fought the flames for almost a week.
Not the first fire
After the 2019 fire, firebreaks were laid on the former military training area to better contain future fires and protect localities. In addition, several deep wells were drilled to get enough extinguishing water – that was a problem in 2019. Large circular sprinklers were purchased and are now in use, the spokesman said.
A forest fire also broke out on Monday afternoon in Hesse – on the Altkönig mountain in the Taunus northwest of Frankfurt. According to the Hochtaunuskreis, around 350 emergency services were on site in the afternoon to fight the flames that had spread from the Altkönig in the direction of the popular Fuchstanz destination. Due to the topographical situation, the extinguishing work would be difficult. By the evening, two to three hectares had been affected by the fire. According to the current status, human lives are not in danger.
Fire near Jüterbog largely contained
In Brandenburg, the situation in the forest fire area near Jüterbog south of Berlin was largely contained on Monday. “But there are still individual fire nests in the area, a total of one to two hectares,” said the forest fire protection officer for the state of Brandenburg, Raimund Engel. In view of the dry weather, it is to be feared that further fires will flare up again. The fire broke out at the end of May on a former military training area. (dpa)