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Avus open again after forest fire in Grunewald


A police vehicle crosses the closed Avus in the morning. Due to a fire in Grunewald, the Avus and the adjacent S-Bahn traffic had been closed.

The fire brigade operation in Berlin's Grunewald forest lasted a week. Now the all-clear has been cautiously given. But the fight against the fire is not over yet.

On Wednesday evening, according to the fire brigade, the restricted area was reduced and the closure of motorway 115 (Avus), which is about 500 metres away from the site, was lifted. A few hours later, traffic slowly started rolling again, but only gradually, as not all barriers had been removed yet. In the evening, the fire brigade also officially gave the all-clear. However, according to the Berlin fire brigade, the Hüttenweg access and exit road remains closed in both directions. The forest area around the blast site is also still off-limits.

Fire brigade deployment continues

According to a spokesperson, the fire brigade's operation is now being gradually scaled back. Firefighters would continue to drive around the area to quickly extinguish small pockets of embers. In addition, the forest around the blast site would be moistened. It is not yet clear when the area will be handed over to the police.

Temperatures at blasting site dropped

On Wednesday, it was possible to bring the temperatures on the entire blasting site below 60 degrees, according to the spokesperson. This was crucial for the release of the motorway. Because beforehand, those responsible wanted to ensure that there was no longer any danger from scattered ammunition and old World War II bombs on the site.

No danger of explosion at present

A water supply had been laid around the square to further cool it, the spokesman said. "Humidification will maintain the temperature." At present, he said, any danger from explosions or detonations could be ruled out. On Wednesday, according to the statement, special police forces had inspected the square for the first time to assess the damage.

Success thanks to two Bundeswehr fire-fighting helicopters

According to the fire brigade, the use of two Bundeswehr fire-fighting helicopters was essential for the progress made in fighting the fire. These had been deployed on Wednesday after flying over Grunewald for the first time on Tuesday. A third helicopter used thermal imaging cameras to investigate what success this had on the ground. The helicopters had also been used most recently for the forest fires in Saxony.

Cause of fire not yet known

Previously, the fire brigade was only able to cool the hot spots on the ground and the remaining explosive devices with a fire-fighting tank and fire-fighting robots. Because of the heat on the site, there was a risk of ammunition and other ordnance exploding. The blast site, where police stored 30 tonnes of old grenades, World War II bombs, ammunition and confiscated fireworks, had been the scene of a fierce fire last Thursday night. The cause is not yet known. Numerous explosions were heard. In the following days, too, explosive devices went off in isolated cases.

Author: dpa/
Publication date: 11 August 2022
Last updated: 11 August 2022

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