Albert Gillis

Brecht heath fire “now under control”, those evacuated allowed to return home

The fire on an area of heathland that is used by the army for shooting is now said to be under control. On Friday afternoon fire broke out on the Grote Schietveld in Brecht in Antwerp Province. Since then, hundreds of hectares of land have been scorched and on Friday evening the residents of an area of the neighbouring municipality of Wuustwezel that is next to the Grote Schietveld were evacuated from their homes as were the residents of a near-by camp site. 

Now the Mayor of Wuustwezel Dieter Wouters (Christian democrat) says that “The fire is to all intents under control”. However, there are still flare-ups the Fire Service is on hand to deal with them.

It has now been decided that the 400 or so local residents that were evacuated on Friday evening can return to their homes. Around 60 of them were offered a bed for the night by the municipal authorities in Wuustwezel. The rest were able to stay with family or friends. 

Due to them having had to spent the night elsewhere than in their own homes and the close contact with others that this may have involved, those evacuated are being offered coronavirus tests. However, the tests are not mandatory. Those that want to take a coronavirus test should report to the testing centre in Kalmthout.

The fire is now said to have been around 75% extinguished, but there are still several hotspots that require the attention of fire fighters.

As a precautionary measure the Governor of Antwerp Province Cathy Berx has banned smoking and lighting fires of any sort in woodland or areas of natural beauty in the whole of Antwerp Province.


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