11:52 GMT +319 September 2019
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    Firemen work in a burning forest on August 24, 2018 in Treuenbrietzen, northeastern Germany, as a forest fire raging 50 kilometres (30 miles) southwest of Berlin continued to spread.

    Infernal Forest Fire Blazes Near Berlin (PHOTO, VIDEO)

    © AFP 2019 / Michael Kappeler
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    Half a thousand people have been evacuated after a hellish blaze and heavy smoke from unexploded World War II munitions caught fire.

    The fire started on Thursday afternoon now covers 400 hectares of forest in the Brandenburg region, just 63 kilometers south-west of the German capital, the newspaper Bild reports. Only on Friday night did firefighters manage to stop the blaze from spreading, yet a spokesman for the interior ministry of Brandenburg told the DPA news agency that “the situation has not yet calmed down.”

    Large parts of the forest are still considered too dangerous to access on foot, as a joint force of firefighters, army and police officers are trying to extinguish the firestorm by using helicopters and water cannons.

    The situation became more complicated after the fire reached unexploded hand grenades and shells, some of which were set off by the fire, blanketing the area with heavy smoke. Even Berlin residents were told to shut their doors and windows and turn off air conditioning units in order not to be affected by the fumes.

    More than 500 local residents were evacuated from three villages to temporary shelters. Most of them were given only half an hour's notcie to pack their essentials for the night. The majority of the evacuated have already expressed their gratitude to the firefighters. Michael Knape, the Mayor of the evacuated town of Treuenbrietzen told Der Tagesspiegel that the rapid work by locals and firefighters showed that “there is still solidarity in Germany.”

    Thanks for your commitment boys and girls! #Firefire #Forest Fire #Berlin #brandenburg #Treuenbrietzen​

    By Saturday morning the fire services confirmed that the flames were largely under control, but Brandenburg's Interior Minister, Karl-Heinz Schröter, told Bild it would likely take another few days to completely extinguish the fire.


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