Bad Schandau/Oybin (dpa/sn) - The situation in the forest fire area in the Saxon Switzerland National Park is not yet under control. "The situation remains tense," said Thomas Kunz from the Saxon Switzerland-Eastern Ore Mountains district office on Sunday. Around 600 firefighters and twelve firefighting helicopters are still busy fighting embers deep underground.
"The ground has to be dug up with a lot of manpower to fight the embers at a depth of around half a meter. That will take a few days," said Kunz. The use of so-called circular sprinklers, which can water a larger area, is currently showing good results. The problem, however, is the great heat, which means that the water evaporates more quickly and does not penetrate into the deeper layers of the soil.
The operational area still covers an area of around 150 hectares - this corresponds to the size of around 210 soccer fields. There is no end in sight as long as heavy rainfall does not support the work. According to the German weather service, no rain is expected for the entire coming week.
On the other hand, the operation in the Oybin forest fire area (Görlitz district) has ended. "The fire area was thoroughly soaked on Saturday evening, and a drone had made a control flight," said Mathias Krause, spokesman for the Görlitz district fire brigade association on Sunday. A fire broke out at a level crossing near Oybin train station on Friday morning. The wind quickly carried the flames away and engulfed the wooded area. Because the terrain was impassable and rocky, the 160 emergency services were initially unable to get to the source of the fire and had to wait hours for a fire-fighting helicopter.
The health resort was cordoned off on Friday morning - all access roads had been blocked by the police. Only residents and vacationers who already had accommodation came in. The flames were finally extinguished with the use of a fire-fighting helicopter by the Thuringian police, which could drop up to 400 liters of water. The closures were lifted on Saturday night. Two firefighters were injured in the operation.