Smoke billows over sailing boats at Lake Wannsee in harbour of Berlin's suburb Spandau after explosions in a former munitions depot causes a wildfire at Grunewald Forest in Berlin. Reuters
A large fire broke out in one of Berlin's biggest city forests on Thursday, morning triggered by several explosions that took place at an ammunition dump inside the forest on what is forecast to be one of the hottest days of the year.
Around 100 firefighters were battling the blaze in the German capital's Grunewald forest in the west of the city, German news agency dpa reported.
The fire was spreading quickly and massive explosions could be heard from the site where old ammunition from World War II, fireworks and explosive ordnance is stored and controlled explosions are carried out.
"The situation is dangerous,” Thomas Kirstein from the Berlin fire department told reporters. He called on residents to stay away from the forest.
Due to flying debris and the threat of further explosions, the fire department said it had not yet begun to systematically extinguish the fire as emergency forces had to keep a distance of a kilometer (more than half a mile) from the flames.
Berlin authorities called for additional task forces to help extinguish the flames, including special forces from the German army. Water cannons, helicopters and special evacuation tanks were also due on the scene.
The commuter train service to the city's west was partially interrupted and one of the city's most important highways, the Avus, was closed.
Homes were not directly threatened by the flames but the fire department warned that the fire could further spread due to the dry conditions of the forest and the exceptional heat that was expected on Thursday with temperatures of up to 38 degrees Celsius (100 Fahrenheit).
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