Forest fire threatens to detonate WWII ammunition

Unexploded ammunition from the Second World War is posing a threat to firefighters battling a forest blaze outside Berlin.

Although emergency crews have managed to bring the fire at the Fichtenwalde forest, 22 miles southwest of the German capital, under control, the situation remains hazardous because of the buried munitions.

There are signs that some may have already detonated because of the flames, putting at risk the firefighters trying to contain the blaze, which covers 222 acres (90 hectares) of woodland.

The authorities say the situation remains precarious.

The fire forced the closure of the A9 motorway which lies adjacent to the forest, while at its height people living in the area were warned they may have to evacuate.

A motorway next to the forest had to be closed off
Image: A motorway next to the forest had to be closed

The Berlin area, like other parts of Europe, has been experiencing unusually hot and dry weather in recent months and authorities have warned the threat of wildfires is very high.

Meanwhile, one person has been killed by an out-of-control blaze in northern California which has torn through homes and businesses, forcing residents to flee.

A bulldozer operator died in the fire in Shasta County, located some 160 miles north of Sacramento, which has tripled in size in the last two days to cover 28,000 acres (11,300 hectares).

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The blaze has crossed the Sacramento River and now threatens hundreds of homes on the western outskirts of the city of Redding.

A house burns during the Carr fire in Redding, California
Image: A raging wildfire in northern California has already claimed one life

Scott McLean of the state’s forestry and fire protection department said: “The fire is moving so fast that law enforcement is doing evacuations as fast as we can. There have been some injuries to civilians and firefighters.

“Its way too dynamic and burning quickly.”

Roads out of the city of 90,000 people were jammed with motorists trying to escape the flames.

Power cuts have also been reported.

:: ‘Serious indications’ Greece wildfire was arson

Extreme weather is also threatening Japan, where areas already ravaged by deadly floods are again bracing for a further deluge as a powerful typhoon bears down.

While the heaviest rains are likely to hit the region around Tokyo, with 12 to 20 ins (300 to 500 mm) possible in the 24 hours to Sunday morning, the storm threatens to pass right over the western region lashed by floods earlier this month, that left 219 dead.

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On Friday, torrential rain and high winds were already lashing the Ogasawara islands, about 621 miles south of Tokyo.

The country has already been struck by a record-breaking heatwave that saw temperatures surge to 41.1C (106F) near Tokyo, killing at least 80 people and causing more than 20,000 taken to hospital for treatment.


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