Fire in Germany burning near unexploded munitions

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A 395-acre fire 31 miles south of Berlin is burning at a military base that was first established by the Prussian government in 1870. It was used as a training area for the Nazis, and later, Soviet tanks and airplanes, from 1935 until 1994. Unexploded munitions in the area require that all firefighting be done from roads or the air.

It reminds me of when we used to go to “fire school” for live fire training at Camp Pendleton in southern California. Instructors would light fires in grass or brush and then dispatch engines and hot shot crews to suppress them. The area was also used by the marines for training, and it was common for the fire to cause M-16 ammunition to explode. We were told that they were all blanks, but the empty cartridges whizzing past your head were, at best, extremely distracting while you were fighting a vegetation fire.

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