German military clears fire break to contain massive blaze

BERLIN (AP) — German officials say thousands of firefighters, soldiers and civil defense personnel are beginning to get a massive wildfire northwest of Berlin under control but that the situation remains critical.

Armored military bulldozers have been working to clear a fire break around the blaze in Luebtheen, about 170 kilometers (106 miles) from Berlin, dpa news agency reported Wednesday, and additional vehicles were to be brought in over the course of the day.

Some 1,200 hectares (3,000 acres) are affected in what is the largest blaze in the history of the Mecklenburg Western Pomerania state.

Officials say the area affected has not expanded since Tuesday and they're optimistic it is now contained. The residents of four villages who were evacuated protectively are now being allowed to return to their homes.

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