Campers flee from Alphen forest fire

Fire hose (Photo: Vitaliy Ragulin / Wikimedia Commons)Fire hose (Photo: Vitaliy Ragulin / Wikimedia Commons)

A group of 30 children and 16 adults camping in nature reserve 't Zand had to flee from a forest fire on Sunday evening. Although the flames did not actually reach their tents near Fransebaan, the fire came very close. The kids and their minders fled the forest with what they could carry, Brabants Dagblad reports.

The group of children from Leiden arrived in the forest on Saturday and slept in tents. The fire broke out near their campsite around 7:00 p.m. on Sunday. The group decided to leave themselves, even before the fire department could tell them to do so, Imne Schout of the municipality of Alphen-Chaam said to the newspaper. At the edge of the forest, they were taken in by the police.

The municipality arranged shelter for them in the Alphen scouting building, though they had to walk for 40 minutes around the burning forest to get there. Although everyone was afraid, they stayed calm, Schout said. Schout made a call for air mattresses and sleeping bags on social media, and had enough for all the children and their minders within an hour. They spent te night in the scouting building on Zandstraat and will return to their campsite after breakfast.

The fire department had the fire under control by 9:30 p.m. Other guests in the nature reserve did not have to leave their campsites. But the 1,200 holidaymakers were warned that they may need to evacuate if the fire continued to spread.