German weather service issues heat warnings as temperatures soar

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Firefighters were still unable to begin putting out the flames as the affected area of 15,000 square metres (161,500 square feet) included a storage site for police ammunition.

“There are still explosions” at the storage area neighbouring Grunewald forest, said a spokesman for Berlin’s firefighter service.

“The situation is unpredictable. It’s burning uncontrollably in the forest,” he added.

Around 100 firefighters and police were in the area on Thursday as water cannons and evacuation tanks arrived on the scene. Support from the German armed forces (Bundeswehr) and additional firefighters has been requested. 

Map shows where the fire broke out in Berlin’s Grunewald. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa Grafik | dpa-infografik GmbH

Officials are building a security cordon to allow firefighters to begin extinguishing the flames from a distance of about a kilometre from the ammunition storage zone.

READ ALSO: German firefighters in ‘intense battle’ with wildfire

A police helicopter was circling the area, as authorities appealed for the public to keep away.

Smoke rises from the fire at the ‘Grunewald’ forest in Berlin. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Kay Nietfeld

Disruption to transport

As a result of the ongoing fire in Berlin’s largest forest, regional and S-Bahn services to the west were disrupted on Thursday. 

The S-Bahn line S7 is only running from Berlin to Grunewald, a railway spokesperson told DPA.

Regional trains running between Berlin-Wannsee and Berlin-Friedrichstraße, including the RE1, RE7, RB21 and RB22 are also disrupted. 

It’s currently not clear to what extent long-distance traffic is affected by the fire.

The Avus motorway between Spanischer Allee and Hüttenweg is closed in both directions, as are Kronprinzessinnenweg and Havelchaussee, the Berlin traffic centre said.

Authorities warned the public about the fire on warning apps and called for people to avoid the danger area. They advised residents to keep windows and doors closed, and said ventilation and air conditioning systems should be turned off.

Temperatures are expected to climb to as high as 40C across parts of Germany. In Berlin, they are predicted to reach around 36C.

Brandenburg, the region surrounding Berlin, has been battling forest fires in the hot weather this week.