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Residents flee as fire rages in eastern Germany

June 24, 2022

Two localities in the German state of Brandenburg had to be evacuated as a large forest fire rages on the border with neighboring Saxony. Efforts to dampen the flames werre hampered because of old munitions in the area.

A police road block
A large-scale emergency was declared as the fire grew more menacingImage: Robert Michael/dpa/picture alliance

Authorities in Brandenburg said the small communities of Kosilenzien and Kröbeln, on the border with Saxony, had to be evacuated on Friday as a forest fire raged nearby.

The flames, which had been fanned by unfavorable winds, were largely brought under control and citizens were later allowed to return.

According to a spokesman for the emergency control center, a forest area in Saxony was first to start burning on Thursday evening before spreading across the border.

The evacuation was declared in the afternoon after a large-scale emergency was declared for the two communities.

Some 450 emergency crews were said to have been deployed to deal with the fire with some 800 hectares (almost 2,000 acres) in flame at one point.

A fire engine passes a burnt out stretch of forest near the community of Kosilenzien
The fire spread rapidly through the forested area on the border of the two statesImage: Julius-Christian Schreiner/dpa/picture alliance

However, efforts were partly hampered by the crews having to avoid a large former military training area still littered with potentially explosive munitions.

"We've never had anything like this here in recent years," said Dorit Riedel, a spokeswoman for the Zeithain fire department.

The evacuation was eventually lifted at about 9 p.m. On the Saxon side of the border, the situation had already eased some time earlier, according to the fire department there.

rc/sms (dpa, AFP)