A forest fire has broken out below the summit of the 1141 meter high Brocken in the Harz Mountains. Hikers and day-trippers have been brought to safety because of the heavy smoke, as a spokeswoman for the city of Wernigerode said.
The plateau of the mountain, which is popular with tourists, was therefore completely evacuated by the evening. Among other things, there is a hotel and the Brocken station of the Harz narrow-gauge railways on the summit.
The fire is not under control and is spreading further, the city of Wernigerode said late Saturday evening. The fire brigade had problems with the extinguishing work because the area was impassable. Nevertheless, the fight against the flames will continue into the night. Four helicopters would be deployed from early morning. Among other things, other helicopters and a circular sprinkler and forest fire team have been requested, said Wernigerode's city spokeswoman Ariane Hofmann.
There was no information about the size of the burning area. "Several fire spots were recognized from the air," said Hofmann. The Brockenbahn has stopped passenger operations. "The tank wagons are now bringing extinguishing water to the fire brigade." There is no danger for the town of Schierke. The Brocken is completely closed to visitors for the time being due to the ongoing operation.
The rapidly spreading fire was discovered on Saturday around 2.30 p.m. on the so-called Goetheweg near the Goethebahnhof vantage point, said a police spokesman. The Goetheweg to the Brocken is one of the most frequented hiking trails in the Harz National Park.
A forest fire broke out near Schierke at the foot of the Brocken on August 11th. It burned for several days. Roland Pietsch, head of the Harz National Park, spoke of 3.6 hectares of forest with dead spruce trees that were affected by the fire. On August 14, the fire was considered extinguished. The place where the fire broke out is said to have been near the railway line of the Brockenbahn. The Landeszentrum Wald currently gives the forest fire danger level for the Harz Mountains as three out of five.