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If fires ravage city greenery in Berlin, it would take decades for the city to restore them as recreational and climate oriented spaces

Berlin and Brandenburg launch anti-drought measures to protect water and forests

Berlin and Brandenburg launch anti-drought measures to protect water and forests

Berlin authorities have said that smoking in or around forests could land citizens a fine between 100 and 50,000 euros

Yesterday authorities in both the city of Berlin and the state of Brandenburg issued new regulations to protect the region against forest fires and conserve natural waters. The Berlin-Brandenburg region has been going through a severe drought since March and with rising summer heat, the risk of forest fires is great.

According to a statement by Berlin, forest floors are currently a veritable tinderbox, with a mixture of dry leaves, pine needles and branches. At the same time, many water basins like lakes and rivers in Brandenburg State are dangerously low, with some riverbeds even drying up.

Forest fires, on the other hand, can cause significant environmental damage. Habitats and recreational landscapes would be lost for decades. At the same time, the vital function of forests for a good urban climate and the protection of drinking water would also be damaged.

Smoking cigarettes in the forest can land you a fine in Berlin

Authorities in the German capital have instituted a ban on smoking in and around forests. This includes areas like the beaches of the Havel river and lakes. This is because a cigarette butt or embers can quickly start a fire and set large forest areas ablaze.

Cars and heated exhausts can also ignite dry vegetation and this is why vehicles can now only be parked in designated parking areas. Violations could be punished by fines, issued by local forest services, which can range between 100 and 50,000 euros.

Draining Brandenburg’s rivers and lakes

The neighbouring state of Brandenburg has also instituted a number of measures to counteract the drought, however, here they are mostly directed at preventing water loss due to evaporation. Moreover, the southern side of the state has been hit harder by the drought and there measures are stricter.

Most regions of Brandenburg forbid people from pumping out water from basins between 8 AM and 8 PM, as during the day temperatures are higher and the evaporation levels would also be higher. At the same time, conditions on the Schwarzen Elster and the Elbe-Elster in terms of water levels are quite severe, so drawing water from them is strictly banned and can land citizens a fine of up to 50,000 euros.

State authorities have said they will re-examine these regulations, but as there is no current set date for their end, they speculate that it would not be anytime soon. This is because forecasts predict more of the same weather.

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