Nature reserves on red fire alert as drought continues

The alert level for fire at nature reserves in Antwerp and Limburg provinces has been increased from orange to red as the drought continues. There has been little rain since March and the ground is particularly dry. By raising the alert level from orange to red the Flemish Nature and Woodlands Agency anticipates “an extremely high risk” from fire in the coming days. The continuing drought and easterly winds that have been forecast for the coming days increase the danger of forest and heath fires starting. 

When a Code Red warning is issued potential visitors to woodland and nature reserves are strongly advised to stay away. However, the Nature and Woodlands Agency says that forests, woods and nature reserves will not be cordoned of for practical reasons.

"It is important that the emergency services can enter quickly if necessary.  Woodlands and nature reserves also often have numerous points of entry. If you want to go walking there stay on the edge of the woods or nature reserve."

A fire can quickly spread and can start from something as small as a discarded cigarette, glass that has been left lying around or even from something hot making contact with the dry ground.

The Nature and Woodlands Agency reminds the public that it is currently prohibited to smoke or light fires in woodlands and nature reserves.

Those in charge of managing the beauty spots and the fire service are extra vigilant. Extra staff and equipment have been deployed and fire observation towers are being staffed when a risk analysis deems this to be necessary.

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