There were more wildfires in Brabant than any other province this year

Fire
Photo credit: Studio040

Brabant has seen 235 wildfires this year, 66 more than last year. This figure is higher by far than any other Dutch province. Gelderland and Limburg experienced the second and third highest number of wildfires, with 97 and 92 fires respectively.

Almost all of these 235 fires were caused by human action. The largest of Brabant’s fires this year was at Deurnse Peel, a nature park in the municipality of Deurne, in April. Not only was it the largest fire of the year, but also one of the largest in Dutch history, as 710 hectares of the nature reserve were destroyed.

In addition to Deurne, Helmond, Cranendonck and Gemert-Bakel have seen some of the highest numbers of fires in the province. Eindhoven fares better, with 10 wildfires between 2017 and 2020.

Country as a whole

Looking at the country as a whole, the Netherlands saw 643 wildfires between in the 10 months from January to October this year. This is almost 100 more than the whole 12 months of 2019. This year’s fires have subsequently burned through nearly a thousand hectares of forestry and nature reserves.

The findings were announced by LocalFocus, who used data provided by the Dutch Fire Service, the Institute for Physical Safety, and Wageningen University.

Climate change

Wildfires are becoming more common. This is mostly due to longer periods of drought and hot weather as a result of climate change. Hot, dry conditions allow fires to spread faster, subsequently making them more difficult to contain.

Human action

A spokesperson for the North Brabant Safety Region said, ‘almost all wildfires are caused by people. One casually thrown away cigarette butt or a piece of glass can start a fire that devastates an entire nature reserve’.

A total of three investigations were launched into the cause of the Deurnse Peel fire back in April. The results of the final two will be presented this week.

 

Source: Omroep Brabant

Translation: Rachael Vickerman

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