Limburg town still evacuated as firefighters battle wildfire
By Wednesday afternoon, firefighters were still struggling to get a wildfire in National Park De Meinweg under control. It was therefore still uncertain when the some 4,200 residents of the town Herkenbosch, evacuated from their homes during the early hours of the morning, will be able to return home, a spokesperson for safety region Veiligheidsregio Noord-Limburg said to NU.nl.
The smoke released by the wildfire contained a high concentration of carbon monoxide. The authorities therefore decided to evacuate the town as a precaution. The evacuation of the entire town started at around 1:00 a.m. By around 6:00 a.m., all residents were safely evacuated.
Residents were asked to find alternative accommodations with friends or families, but for those who couldn't, beds were arranged in 16 sports halls in the area. The Red Cross provided a total of 800 beds. The residents were spread out over so many locations, in order to adhere to social distancing rules in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
When the residents will be allowed to return home remains unclear. They do not have to worry about their belongings, the police said. Extra patrols are being done throughout the town.
More wildfires were reported across the Netherlands this week, including in De Peel, a large nature reserve which crosses the Limburg and Noord-Brabant provinces. A fire there has been active since April 20 not far from the town of Deurne, with the Army and Air Force both providing support by either dumping water on the fire from above or by digging out vegetation to try to prevent the fire's spread.
Another fire closer to Tilburg in Moergestel was brought under control on Wednesday after two days of battering back flames.
Firefighters have fought blazes in nature for over two weeks in the area around Apeldoorn, including three on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.