News Digest Item
21 Sep 2018

Moorland fire caused by German army releases over 500,000 tonnes of CO2 - NGO

Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union / NDR

A fire under a moorland, caused accidentally during a military exercise in northern Germany, has released at least over half a million tonnes of CO2, the NGO Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) says in a press release. The smouldering fire had been started in early September by a missile test by the German army (Bundeswehr) and by now encompasses an area of more than eight square kilometres. “Given this year’s extreme drought, weapon testing on the moor land without sufficient precaution through fire vehicles just beggars belief,” the NABU’s moor expert Felix Grützmacher said. The NGO says the fire not only kills many rare animals on the ground but also continues to release large amounts of carbon emissions every minute and by now had emitted at least as much carbon dioxide as 50,000 average citizens in Germany emit in a year.
According to public broadcaster NDR, the region has been categorised as an emergency area to prepare evacuation. NABU expert Grützmacher told NDR that, depending on the fire’s extent below the surface, up to 900,000 tonnes of CO2 might have been release by now. The Bundeswehr says that the fire is unlikely to be extinguished soon and, in a worst-case scenario, could continue for several weeks to come.
[According to an article by Spiegel Online, the fire might already have released up to 1.4 million tonnes of CO2 as the NABU's initial calculations were made when only five square kilometres were burning.]

Read the press release in German here, the NDR article in German here and the Spiegel article in German here

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