Bungling Beekeeper Sparks Massive Forest Fire

A beekeeper in southeastern Germany trying to calm his colonies with smoke has been linked to a devastating woodland blaze.

Police in the small town of Gleisweiler near Mannheim said the 42-year-old man could be charged with gross negligence.

More than 50 firefighters were deployed to tackle the blaze which eventually destroyed 400 square metres of forest.

Investigations are indicating that the fire started after the beekeeper applied smoke to his hives.

Illustrative image of forest fire, undated.

The man – whose name has not been revealed by local authorities due to Germany’s protection of privacy regulations – suffered smoke intoxication, according to the Bietigheimer Zeitung newspaper.

The beekeeper needed immediate medical treatment and was later on taken to a nearby clinic.

Local media have reported that the blaze – which ravaged close to a private psychiatric clinic – caused no further casualties.

Beekeepers use specially designed smokers to protect themselves from being stung during hive inspections. The bees become calmer when smoke is applied.

There are currently around 170,000 beekeepers all over Germany. They manage more than one million colonies.


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