Fire ravages Brabant dunes

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A very big fire raged in the dunes of Loon and Drunen on Monday afternoon, which required the fire department to seek assistance from neighboring municipalities, and was still being extinguished at 6 p.m. 

The blaze burned between the Kanaalweg, the Torenstraat, the Drunenseweg and Steegerf. The forest fire near Drunen was quickly scaled up to a "very big fire". According to a spokesperson for the police, the flames spread to about 50 hectares.

At 6 p.m., the fire department was still busy trying to extinguish close to one hectare of the blaze, BN De Stem reports. The fire department was in place earlier in the day with twelve trucks to put out the fire, which was spreading from north to south.

Because the fire was raging heavily, the fire department from Drunen and Waalwijk received assistance from colleagues throughout the entire region. Den Bosch, Cromvoirt, Uden, Rosmalen, Mill, Nistelrode and Boxtel all came to aid.

A police helicopter was also put into action, with a fireman, to be able to assess the situation and the damage from a higher perspective.

The forest fire was quickly scaled up to a "very big fire", a spokesperson for the fire department said. Emergency services warned not to come too close to the fire site and to keep the roads free for the fire trucks.

The fire department was busy for some time to make sure the blaze wouldn't spread further to the Drongelens canal. There are also several homes in the area, but the police assured that the homes were not in danger.

Smoke clouds could be seen billowing above the trees from far away. Drivers could see them from the A59. The municipality of Heusden has also reported the fire.

In March 2012, there were also various forest fires in the dunes of Loon and Drunen. Back then, there was talk of a pyromaniac at work. There is no indication as to what or who caused the fire on Monday, however.