Bonn/Region The combination of high temperatures and lack of precipitation means there is an elevated danger for forest fires in Bonn and the Rhine-Sieg region. Forest rangers are on high alert and experts advise people to be especially cautious.
The nice summer weather we have been enjoying has a flip side as well. Because of the continually dry weather, the danger of forest fires is high. In a large part of the state of NRW, including the Bonn and Rhine-Sieg regions, the danger level for forest fires is now considered four on a scale of one to five, five being the highest. Thomas-Hans Deckert of the Regional Forestry Office Rhine-Sieg-Erft, provided the information to GA, responding to an inquiry on Tuesday.
Officials are advising people to use “increased vigilance” in forested areas. Trees and plants are extremely dry, and sparks and flames could spread very quickly and dangerously in the forest. Smoking in the forest is generally prohibited in the summer months from March 1 to October 1, according to Deckert. Open fires of any kind are also prohibited in forested areas. Those who do not comply with the ban may have to reckon with more than just a fine. “It could constitute a crime, which would be causing a fire hazard.”
So far this summer, there have been no fires in the forests or grassy areas in Bonn and the Rhine-Sieg region, according to forestry officials. “We are fortunate that the forests here are mainly covered with deciduous trees,” said Deckert. It means that the danger of fire is somewhat lower than it would be in a forest filled with pine and spruce trees. But caution is still needed. In the Wahner Heide, a wildlife habitat and conservation area in NRW, the danger of fire is considered higher at the moment than in other areas due to extreme dryness there.
Deckert said that forestry officials remain on alert in light of the potential danger for forest fires. Already last Thursday, forestry workers were put on call in case of such an emergency. They also remain in close contact with fire departments and district authorities. Anyone who notices a fire or fire pit should always contact the fire department first, say the experts.
It is unclear as to how long the forest fire danger warnings will be in effect. Currently, there is a “stable east wind weather situation” with plenty of sun and high temperatures, says Deckert. But looking at the weather forecast, he says the situation could improve. Local thunderstorms are possible in the coming days. But as these are “always localized”, an accurate forecast in terms of where they will hit is difficult. Caution is advised for the time being.
(Orig. text: Alexander Hertel / Translation: ck)