The Summer Ritual

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By KlimaNachrichten Redakteur

Every year, you can almost set the clock accordingly, the same reports follow in the media. One of them concerns forest fires. If it has not rained for a long time, then this fact favors forest fires. The temperature is almost not decisive. Forest fires also occur in spring, it just doesn’t have to rain long enough. They can even exist in winter. The months with the most fires in Germany are April and June.

So it is a recurring ritual this year as well. The forest around Jüterbog in Brandenburg is burning. Reflexively, climate change is being pulled out of the box. However, this is only partially true at best. Wildfires are almost always caused by humans, either intentionally or negligently. The problem with Jüterbog (and other forest areas) is the fact that they were military training grounds for decades. The ground is contaminated with ammunition, extinguishing work is life-threatening. In Jüterbog, the fire brigade can only fight the fire from cleared alleys, but this cannot be successful. The fire is left there as long as no people are endangered. This is aggravated by the fact that in Brandenburg there are many conifers that characterize the forests. Their needles burn especially well in a fire and carry it on.

There is a good chance that people around Jüterbog have also set fire to the forest, whether out of criminal energy or stupidity. Nevertheless, we will only read about climate change in the media, but nothing, about a lack of adaptation. It is also dry in other parts of Brandenburg, but fires can be extinguished there because we humans have adapted to it and fire brigades can extinguish it. It is also easier to shrug your shoulders at the climate than to have the ammunition cleared. This is expensive and apparently not wanted. The Tagesschau on this:

“The fire brigade is preparing for the fact that the operation against the forest fire on a former military training area near Jüterbog (Teltow-Fläming) will continue for days. Firefighters can’t get close enough to the fires because the area is heavily contaminated with old ammunition. It is only possible to move around the area on cleared paths because of the risk of explosion. The fire brigade checks the fire protection strip and keeps it wet to prevent the fire from spreading to other areas. “It’s frustrating for the firefighter who stands here and can’t do anything,” said fire chief Rico Valentin. Overall, the fire continues to expand and the smoke development increases again and moves in the direction of Treuenbrietzen, warns the fire brigade.” 

The Ministry of Agriculture has interesting facts and figures on the subject of forest fires. Unfortunately, the 2022 data is still missing. Experience has shown that they appear in the summer. In any case, until 2021, the trend looked like it did on the chart. It’s hard to fit the equation, it’s getting worse and worse.

(Figure: Screenshot BMEL) 

We had already written about the topic in 2019, which is the year with an extreme peak, and also about the reflexes of the well-known protagonists. Not much has changed.