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Thousands battle large blaze in parched northern Germany

BERLIN (AP) — Thousands of firefighters, soldiers and civil defense personnel are battling a large wildfire at an area used for military exercises in northern Germany after weeks of dry weather.

Officials said Tuesday that the blaze in Luebtheen, about 170 kilometers (106 miles) northwest of Berlin, is the biggest in the history of Mecklenburg Western Pomerania state.

Stefan Sternberg, who heads the district administration, said some 600 hectares (1483 acres) of forest and brush are affected.

Sternberg said firefighters managed overnight to contain the fire and are now planning to go "on the attack." Water's being diverted from the Elbe river and the military has deployed helicopters to tackle the blaze.

Germany has seen little rain lately during a Europe-wide heat wave. Authorities say the wildfire risk is strongest in the northeast.

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