Unexploded ordnance a drag for firefighters round the globe this summer (VIDEO)
By Chris Eger
From Sweden to New Mexico, those tackling wildfires this season have often had to pump the brakes due to the possibility of moody old munitions.
In Germany last week, firefighters near Fichtenwalde outside of Berlin, had to call in a fire-fighting tank to help get close enough to a blaze thought to be near old WWII-era munitions left over from the epic Soviet drive to capture the city in 1945. “We’ve received some information that there have been a number of detonations,” said Raimund Engel, a representative for the German federal state of Brandenburg’s firefighting authorities.
In Sweden, with the double trouble of unexploded ammunition and difficult terrain encountered in a wildfire on the country’s Älvdalens live-fire range, two Air Force Jas 39 Gripens were called in to sucker punch the center of the blaze with 500-pound GBU-49 Paveway smart bombs.
The idea was that the bombs’ resulting pressure wave would snuff out the fire by depriving it of oxygen. “Our preliminary assessment right now is that this had a good effect,” said fire team leader Johan Szymanski in a statement.
While in the UK, fire crews at a military range near Northumberland have been stamping out flames caused by “sparks from bullets” for