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Berlin forest fire contained – but ammo dump remains a problem

The blaze broke out in Grunewald Forest on the western edge of the German capital.

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Firefighting robots from the Vechta fire department stand near the scene of a fire in the Grunewald forest (AP)

Firefighting robots from the Vechta fire department stand near the scene of a fire in the Grunewald forest (AP)

Firefighting robots from the Vechta fire department stand near the scene of a fire in the Grunewald forest (AP)

A fire accompanied by explosions at a police ammunition dump in a Berlin forest has been contained, with large parts of it extinguished.

However, authorities are still waiting to get access to the dump itself, a day after the fire broke out in the Grunewald forest on the western edge of the German capital.

The site is far from the nearest homes and no-one had to be evacuated, but authorities declared a 1,000-metre exclusion zone and a nearby main road and a railway line remain closed on Friday.

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Smoke rises in the Grunewald forest behind the former National Security Agency (NSA) radar tower on top of the Teufelsberg in Berlin (AP)

Smoke rises in the Grunewald forest behind the former National Security Agency (NSA) radar tower on top of the Teufelsberg in Berlin (AP)

AP/PA Images

Smoke rises in the Grunewald forest behind the former National Security Agency (NSA) radar tower on top of the Teufelsberg in Berlin (AP)

Fire service spokesman Thomas Kirstein said wildfires in the area around the ammunition dump had been largely extinguished by Friday morning.

Authorities are now hoping to get a close look at the site itself, with help from armoured vehicles and robots, after being unable to do so on Thursday amid concern about continuing sporadic detonations.

It remains unclear what triggered the first explosions at the ammunition dump early on Thursday.

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The site was created in Cold War-era West Berlin in 1950, and 25 metric tonnes or more of fireworks, Second World War ammunition and other explosive ordnance was stored there before the fire started.

Controlled blasts are carried out there twice a year.


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