Harz: massive help from the air against a major fire on the Brocken

The helicopters fly in every minute and fill their tanks with water one after the other.

Harz: massive help from the air against a major fire on the Brocken

The helicopters fly in every minute and fill their tanks with water one after the other. They quickly turn towards the Brocken. There they throw the thousands of liters onto the burning forest areas. The shuttle has been running since dawn.

The lake on the Wurmberg is the linchpin for the helicopters fighting the approximately 150-hectare forest fire from the air on Monday. From here, the smoke from the large fire on the Brocken can be clearly seen. Many onlookers are standing here, as are those responsible for the operation.

Massive air support

District Administrator Thomas Balcerowski (CDU) has to interrupt the conversation from time to time because a helicopter flies over him again. Seven fire-fighting helicopters are in use and two Italian fire-fighting planes, which fetch water from a flooded opencast mine, Lake Concordia. They can transport 6000 liters at once. The district has calculated that 30,000 liters will come together once all the machines involved have shed water.

So that the comprehensive help was possible, the district administrator declared a disaster on Sunday. And so not only Italian support is possible, Austrians and Swiss are also helping - in addition to forces from the police, army, technical relief organization and others.

Fire not yet under control

300 emergency services were deployed on Monday. In shift work, they are exchanged again and again. "It looks like the fire won't spread any further," said the district administrator. But it is still not under control. And a "fire out" is not yet in sight. Rain has been announced for Wednesday, which could help, according to Balcerowski.

The fact that air support is so important is due to the difficult terrain. It is a popular hiking area. However, it has changed significantly in recent years. The spruce stands have suffered massively from drought, storms and pests such as the bark beetle. Huge stocks have died. The deadwood always causes heated discussions. Some want it cleared away. They see themselves confirmed in the forest fires. On the other hand, the principle of the national park is to intervene as little as possible. Nature should reclaim the terrain.

Cause of fire still unclear

The fire was discovered on Saturday around 2:30 p.m. on the so-called Goetheweg near the Goethebahnhof vantage point. The cause of the fire is still unclear. The Goetheweg to the Brocken is one of the most frequented hiking trails in the Harz National Park.

The Brocken plateau, which includes a hotel and a train station, was evacuated on Saturday. It remains closed to visitors until further notice, as do the hiking trails in the area and the village of Schierke at the foot of the Brocken. Overnight guests can reach the place after a police check. The Harz narrow-gauge railways, which run their trains on the Brocken, have stopped operating there.

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