Forest fire on former military training area in Germany reignited

Source: Xinhua| 2019-07-01 20:44:29|Editor: Xiang Bo
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BERLIN, July 1 (Xinhua) -- More than 350 firefighters, disaster control, police and other institutions are being deployed to fight a reignited forest fire in northern Germany, the local German authorities announced on Monday.

Around 430 hectares of forest in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania were affected, making it the largest forest fire in the history of the northern German state, according to the German district authority.

The confirmed number of people who had been evacuated so far was about 500 including 100 children from a holiday camp, according to a district spokesperson in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

On Friday, the fire had first broken out in a forest on the former military training area but local authorities had quickly given the all-clear and announced that the fire had been extinguished.

On Sunday, however, the forest fire broke out again and had "spread rapidly," a spokesperson for the German district said. Because ammunition is still lying in the ground, the fire-fighting efforts are proving more difficult.

Firefighters needed to maintain a safety distance of 1,000 meters and local authorities said that an armored fire fighting vehicle as well as helicopters from the German Federal Criminal Police and armed forces were being used to fight the fire.

The local German authorities said that "there is a suspicion of arson" and that police had started an investigation into the causes of the renewed fire.

Several cities in the federal state of Brandenburg as well as in parts of northern Saxony-Anhalt felt the effects of the forest fire including smoke and the smell of fire.

The smell of fire was also perceptible in Germany's capital Berlin on Monday and the city's fire department posted on Twitter that "the smell is annoying, but not dangerous".

The German Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK) called on inhabitants to keep doors and windows closed and to switch off ventilation and air conditioning systems due to the strong smoke being generated by the fire.