Two weeks since a devastating fire ravaged part of Berlin’s Grunewald forest, the head of the city’s forests division says the burned out section will have to shut for the next few years.
At 3,000 hectares (about 7,400 acres), Grunewald is the largest green space in Berlin and located on the city’s western edge. The forest – which is nicknamed the ‘green lung’ of Berlin – is a popular area for hiking, biking, and swimming in its lakes.
The forest’s southern half also contains Sprengplatz, an area set up in 1950 to collect and detonate leftover munitions from WWII, particularly those left by allied bombing raids of the then-Nazi capital.
The fire, which broke out at Sprengplatz, scattered detonated many pieces of leftover munitions all over the surrounding forest floor.
Berlin Forests says the police will be detonating larger explosives in the coming weeks, but that it will take much longer to search for and safely dispose of smaller pieces.
“It’s very time-consuming work and it will take years to collect everything,” Berlin Forests Head Gunnar Heyne told regional broadcaster rbb. “The forest will remain closed for at least that long.”
Heyne is confident though, that the forest itself will recover well quickly, particularly its oak and poplar trees.
While the area around Sprengplatz will remain shut, much of the rest of the forest, including the path to Grunewald’s popular Teufelsee—or “Devil’s Lake,” remain open.