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Fire ignited by explosions in Germany forest mostly contained, officials say

By A.L. Lee

Aug. 5 (UPI) -- A fire in Berlin's Grunewald Forest has been mostly contained, officials said on Friday after the forest was set ablaze by several large explosions at an ammunition disposal site there.

Officials have not said what exactly triggered the blasts on Thursday, or if the fire itself caused the ammunition, fireworks and other explosives at the depot to ignite. The depot is a Cold War-era facility in West Berlin.

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The blaze has scorched nearly 4 acres and was fought by more than 100 firefighters, Berlin's fire brigade said.

Although no homes were close by, authorities set up a half-mile perimeter to seal off the area and planned to use robots and armored vehicles to assess any further danger. They also shut down nearby roads and railways.

Berlin Fire Brigade Director Karsten Homrighausen said the situation continued to pose a threat Friday.

"It will take us some time to get everything under control," she said according to CNN.

Flying debris prevented emergency crews from getting too close to the depot to extinguish remaining flames. Local officials called in the German army for assistance.

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Dry conditions and extreme heat have compounded the effort as the country experienced one of its hottest days on record.

Berlin officials have previously recognized the danger of controlled blasts at the site, but have been unsuccessful in efforts to move it away from the forest.

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