The situation in the forest fire area in Saxon Switzerland is gradually calming down. However, some embers still have to be fought. Four suspected arsonists were also identified.
Bad Schandau – The situation in the Saxon Switzerland forest fire area is slowly but steadily improving. “In another area, the emergency services were able to report “fire out”. It’s progressing,” said Thomas Kunz from the Saxon Switzerland-Eastern Ore Mountains district office on Wednesday on request. In five other areas, however, there are still embers that have to be fought.
The spokesman could not name the exact number of emergency services for Wednesday. In the past few days, there were around 800. The operational area still covers an area of around 150 hectares, which corresponds to the size of around 210 football pitches.
Fewer embers discovered than in previous days
During reconnaissance flights with helicopters and drones, fewer embers were discovered on Tuesday evening and on Wednesday night than in the previous days. “In addition to the extensive extinguishing measures, the cooler nights also help. They ensure that fewer flames shoot out of the ground,” emphasized Kunz.
“Other than that, the weather doesn’t really help. There’s just no continuous rain, but there’s no prospect of it.” According to the German Weather Service, no rain is forecast for the coming days, and the maximum daily temperatures will rise to around 30 degrees Celsius.
Two firefighting helicopters from the Federal Police have meanwhile been withdrawn and sent to fight the fire at the blast site in Berlin’s Grunewald. According to the local fire brigade, they should throw water over embers on the blasting site and around it at least in the morning. As a result, ten fire-fighting helicopters are currently in use in the Saxon Switzerland National Park.
Four suspected arsonists identified
In the case of the forest fire below the Bastei rock in the penultimate week of July, the police identified four men aged 24 and 25 as suspected arsonists. They are suspected of having smoked shisha on an area between the bastion and the Kanapee-Aussicht outside of the hiking trails in the Saxon Switzerland National Park and having caused the forest fire, the police and public prosecutor’s office in Dresden announced on Wednesday. Investigators were able to secure multiple pieces of evidence at the crime scene.
“After numerous witnesses pointed to a quartet smoking shisha on the day of the fire, the suspects were identified,” it said. During apartment searches on Tuesday in the city of Dresden, among other things, mobile phones were seized, which are now being evaluated. Police President Lutz Rodig thanked a reporter from the “Bild” newspaper who gave the crucial clue.
Next disaster alarm in Bad Schandau
The disaster alert is maintained for the area around Bad Schandau. “For a repeal, all fires would first have to be extinguished,” emphasized Kunz. On Tuesday, after the source of the fire near Sebnitz had been extinguished, the disaster alarm was lifted there. The ban on entering the forest in the operational area of Hintere Sächsische Schweiz, which also includes parts of the Sebnitzer Flur, remains unaffected.
The fire broke out two and a half weeks ago in the Bohemian Switzerland National Park and then spread to the Saxon Switzerland National Park. On the Czech side, according to the local authorities, the fire is under control. Nevertheless, hundreds of firefighters are still fighting there against embers that flare up again and again.