berlin forest fire

of woodland burned outside the nearby city of Potsdam. In spring the burned areas are rather small, whereas in summer the frequency of large fires increases. London, April 25 (AP) - A fire in the Grunewald Forest in Berlin caused "considerable damage to valuable timber stocks" and was controlled only after hours of tedious work by fire brigades, the Berlin radio said tonight. Extinguishing a fire aims for the same effect using retardants, rainwater or by suffocating with sand. The smoke of a crown fire is dark, almost black, due to the accompanying charcoal. Within one hour a fire can advance 200 to 1,200m (occasionally up to 2,000m). Before the new buds sprout in spring the forest fire risk increases and reaches its first peak at the end of April/beginning of May. For historical reasons, these areas arose in the 18th and 19th century from forest pastures, or from forests overused for litter gathering or through the afforestation of heath lands, predominantly with pine trees. (2000 Waldbrandschutz - Manuskript der Bund-Länder-Arbeitsgruppe Waldbrandschutz. Forest Fire Causes, in 2008 there were about 800 forest fires Germany wide which destroyed a total area of 540ha.

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Firebrands are dangerous in crown fires. Rising hot air can carry sparks of pinecones, moss, discofox chemnitz charcoal or birch bark tar up to 400m ahead of the fire front to ignite spot fires. Along with these two forms there are also ground (peat) fires and torching fires. Surface fires are the most common and aerial (also known as crown) fires the most dangerous type of forest fire. Although with strong winds or extreme droughts, they can precede the surface fire by a few meters, but they must be heated by an associated surface fire. Only a very few animal and plant species are dependent on forest fires for example the Black Fire Beetle (Melanophila acuminata) which has adapted its survival strategy very well to the seldom occurring natural forest fires. Firefighters in Germany are battling to subdue one of the largest forest fires in recent decades, around 50km (30 miles) south of Berlin. The cause of many forest fires is often not established despite investigation and expert assessment. So far, air traffic to and from Berlin remains unaffected.

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