Status: 07/28/2022 3:59 p.m.
Firefighters continue to fight forest fires in Saxony and Brandenburg. The situation in the Saxon Switzerland National Park has worsened – the Czech Republic helps with water from its dams for extinguishing work.
Hundreds of firefighters continue to battle two large wildfires in eastern Germany. In Saxony, the forest fire continued to spread, as reported by the regional office for Saxon Switzerland-Eastern Ore Mountains. Changing winds from the direction of the Czech Republic have aggravated the situation in the forest fire zone in the Saxon Switzerland National Park. Firefighting is currently aimed at preventing further spread of flames from the neighboring country, the district office said.
Czech Republic helps with water
To that end, the Czech Republic is draining more water from its dam system into the Elbe to help fight forest fires in Saxon and Bohemian Switzerland. Czech Agriculture Minister Zdenek Nekula announced on Twitter that the flow of the so-called Vltava Waterfall will be increased by 20 cubic meters of water per second. This represents more than 1.7 million cubic meters of water per day.
The background is that helicopters on the German and Czech sides of the border are transporting water from the Elbe in external cargo containers in order to later deposit it above the flames. This requires a certain minimum water level in the river. The Vltava Waterfall includes, among others, the large reservoirs Orlik and Lipno in the southwest of the Czech Republic. The Vltava flows into the Elbe near Melnik.
A section of the Elbe has been blocked for water withdrawal. Saxon Interior Minister Armin Schuster (CDU) and Environment Minister Wolfram Günther (Greens) were on the German and Czech side in the fire area to get an idea of the situation.
No green light for forest fire zones in eastern Germany
Holger Körner, MDR, daily newspaper 12:00 p.m., 28.7.2022
250 hectares of burning forest
“The situation is tense,” said district spokesman Thomas Kunz. So far, however, no towns or individual buildings have been evacuated and there is currently no danger to the population. According to Kunz, however, there are corresponding concepts that could be implemented quickly.
According to reports, about 250 hectares of forest are currently on fire. Fire development continues to be dynamic. “Emergency services are doing all they can to further contain the fire,” he added. A total of around 340 firefighters were deployed, along with 30 employees of the Federal Technical Relief Agency and aid organizations. They were supported by two water cannons from the state police, three firefighting helicopters and a coordination helicopter from the Bundeswehr, five helicopters from the federal and state police and two firefighting helicopters from a private company.
The fire started at the weekend in Bohemian Switzerland National Park in the Czech Republic and spread to Saxon Switzerland National Park on Monday. In Bad Schandau in Saxon Switzerland, a disaster alert has been in effect since Tuesday. Tourists should avoid the area. The forests in the Saxon Switzerland-Eastern Ore Mountains district are not accessible until further notice.
Brandenburg: a fire broke out in the south
Even in southern Brandenburg, the danger of new forest fires has not yet been ruled out. The district of Elbe-Elster announced that the fire had again spread south of the Kölsa-Rehfeld deployment area due to burning embers. A Bundeswehr helicopter fights the flames from the air with water tanks that can hold up to 5,000 liters. The water is drawn from the nearby Kiebitzsee, which is currently closed to bathers.
On the ground, a Bundeswehr armored personnel carrier provided support to create paths for fire crews through the impassable terrain and to cut aisles so that the flames could not spread as quickly. Another tank is expected tomorrow.
Around 300 emergency services from several parts of Brandenburg are fighting the flames. The situation in the operational area of the city of Falkenberg is under control, it was said in the morning. According to the administrative staff of the district, the situation cannot be managed by its own forces. Consequently, emergency services were requested from other parts of the state. The area where the forest fire is still active should be measured during the day.
Johann Georg Goldammer, professor of fire ecology, on forest fires in Germany
daily topics 10:15 p.m., 28.7.2022
The forest fire in Brandenburg broke out on Monday and spread to around 800 hectares in a very short time. The federal state has already been hit by forests and forest fires several times this year.
Lemke: Making forests more resilient
In view of the fires, Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke wants to make forests more resilient to the consequences of long-term climate change. The Greens politician told the dpa news agency: “Forest fires are dangerous for us humans when they threaten homes, pollute the air and release CO2. At the same time, they destroy entire ecosystems and their functions: forest fires disrupt the storage function of the forest. for water and massive carbon.”
It is therefore crucial to fight forest fires now and to make forests more resilient in the long term. The federal government supports the federal states according to their possibilities in the fight against the flames, Lemke said. In the long term, the Federal Ministry of the Environment wants to develop forest ecosystems close to nature in order to make them more robust against the consequences of the climate crisis. “Healthy forests are part of our natural basis of life, they protect the climate, ensure a balanced water balance, provide recreation space for us humans and are hotspots of biological diversity,” says Lemke.
Federal Minister of Agriculture Cem Özdemir (Greens) told the Rheinische Post: “Forest conversion is the magic word, with it we make forests more resistant to drought and heat. We need to move away from spruce or pine monocultures and towards mixed cultures. forests.”