Dutch municipalities cancel Easter bonfires due to drought

Multiple municipalities in the east of the Netherlands decided to ban the traditional Easter bonfires this weekend. Sparks from the bonfires can lead to wildfires, and due to the drought there is a greater risk of these wildfires spreading rapidly and getting out of control, NU.nl reports.

Lighting bonfires over Easter, especially if there is snowfall, has been a tradition in eastern Netherlands for hundreds of years. But the drought and increasing risk of wildfires prompted multiple municipalities to ban this tradition this year. On Saturday the safety offices of Gelderland-Zuid, Gelderland-Midden and Noord- en Oost-Gelderland scaled up to alertness phase 2, which indicates an increased risk of wildfires. 

As a result, the municipalities of Bronkhorst, Oude IJsselstreek, Lochem, Steenwijkerland and Berkelland decided to abandon the Easter bonfires. In the last four municipalities, all Easter bonfires have been banned. Bronkhorst banned at least 18 small- and medium sized fires, according to the newspaper.

In the municipality of Rijssen-Holten, the Easter bonfires will continue this weekend, but in a smaller form with extra precautions.