A bog fire has been smoldering for more than three weeks on a federal army site in lower saxony, and now the county of emsland has lifted the disaster alert. The emergency services had contained the fire in meppen, said district administrator reinhard winter.
The fire no longer threatens to spread to neighboring communities. The emergency had been declared a week ago because it was feared that the flames could endanger neighboring forests and settlements due to wind and flying sparks. Around 1,600 troops were called up to fight the fire, which the german armed forces had triggered with missile tests.
Firefighters have succeeded in steadily reducing the number of underground blazes and fires on the surface of the moor, said the head of department at the lower saxony ministry of the interior, alexander gotz, at an interior committee meeting of the state parliament. In addition, there had been no more fires in places that had already been extinguished. This is what the bundeswehr discovered when it flew over the country with drones and tornado jets.
Bundeswehr fire chief andreas sagurna said on site that the night of thursday had been the quietest so far. The situation is clearly relaxed.
The federal armed forces have made important progress in fighting fires, especially in the country bordering the district, emphasized district administrator winter. That’s why the risk potential has been significantly reduced. The moor fire is not yet extinguished and the local fire departments are still on standby for operations at short notice. As head of department gotz said, the operation can still take weeks.
"After intensive technical consultation with the responsible places of the federal armed forces and the ministry of the interior of lower saxony, i have decided to lift the catastrophe", the district administrator explained. "In view of the current fire situation and the emergency operation on the land of the federal armed forces, we can currently rule out an evacuation scenario for our emsland communities – and largely normality can return to public life."
Meanwhile, sabotage hampered the work of firefighters. "Another fire hose has been damaged," said the german army fire chief. A hose had been cut directly at the clutch. He did not want to speculate about possible culprits. "I just think it’s unfair to the helpers."The day before, the german armed forces had already reported a possible case of sabotage. Water hoses found to be defective. The field jagers wanted to guard the country more closely.
All measurements in the vicinity of the fire had not shown any exceeding of limits that would indicate an acute health hazard, said department head gotz. The county of emsland published the corresponding measurement data on the internet on thursday. The smoke plume from the moorland fire at times stretched up to 100 kilometers across northwestern germany and as far as bremen.