Devastated heathland in Schijf will recover quickly after fire

Heath destroyed by fire Photo credit: Erik Peeters/Omroep Brabant

The lost nature after the great heath fire in Disk will recover quickly. According to former forester Hans Hofland, the damage to the heath is limited, because many heath seeds survived the fire under the ground. Last Friday, 1.6 hectares of forest area were lost in the fire, about the size of three football fields.

On Monday, many people came to see the damage in the nature reserve on the Achtmaalsebaan with their own eyes. “Last weekend, the fire brigade was still busy damping down. Now I’m actually only seeing it for the first time. It looks like a lunar landscape, such devastation. I hope the heather grows back soon,” says a man on his mountain bike.

The nature reserve where the fire raged is owned by the Ministry of Defence. For many years, Hans Hofland was the forester of the old Buisse Heide nature reserve a little further away. Now he gives advice on nature restoration. “Nature is resilient here and can take quite a beating,” he explains.

According to Hofland, because of the extra risks, it was wise to extinguish the fire in Schijf as soon as possible. At the same time, he says that heath fires also have a stimulating effect: “You can see it as a control measure, just like mowing or grazing sheep. It benefits the biodiversity in the soil.”

Benefits for Animals

“Ash is fertile. The Romans already knew that, they used ash as a fertiliser. You will see that when there is some rain, plants will sprout quickly again because the growing season is still in full swing. The young shoots are high in protein and animals such as roe deer, foxes and rabbits benefit from this.”

In time, lizards, insects and butterflies will also return. The species that, according to Hans Hofland, have become the victims of the fire.

Despite the drops on the trees from a rain shower on Monday morning, the affected heathland in Schijf is still bone dry. “Just look here under the scorched plants. It all looks like powder”, says a group of walkers from Roosendaal.

The fire brigade therefore warns to remain alert to fire in nature. Nothing is yet known about the cause of last Friday’s fire.

Source: Omroep Brabant

Translated by: Shanthi Ramani

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