Heat wave triggers Code Red fire warning in parts of Netherlands

File photo of firefighters in Gelderland. 14 January 2007.. (Brandweer Dodewaard / Wikimedia Commons)

The fire department issued a code red warning for forest fires in Noord-Brabant and Zeeland due to the hot and dry weather conditions expected in the provinces on Wednesday and Thursday. Meteorological institute KNMI also issued a code yellow heat warning for most of the Netherlands.

Code red means that there is a high to very high risk of fires in natural areas. In these weather conditions fires spread quickly and unpredictably, according to the forest fire risk website. Open fires, barbecuing and torches are banned during a code red. And smoking in the area is strongly discouraged. A map of which areas are at risk can be seen on the site.

The fire department implemented a new fire prevention system in 2010 with measuring stations all over natural areas, according to NU.nl. The measuring stations work on solar power and measure all kinds of data, including meteorological information and dryness in the area. The risk of fire is determined based on these measurements.

During a code orange or red warning, the fire department is at high alert. The department responds to alarms with extra manpower and equipment by default. Anyone who sees a fire is advised to call 112 and leave the area immediately. 

The KNMI issued a code yellow heat warning for all provinces except the three northern provinces and Noord-Holland and Flevoland. The persistent heat is expected to last until the end of Thursday. "Stay hydrated. Keep yourself and your home cool. Limit physical exertion. Be prepared when you travel", the meteorological institute warns.