Largest wildfire in Dutch history may have been deliberately ignited

Firetruck

A large fire which ripped through the nature reserve Deurnese Peel in late April may have been started deliberately, the government nature protection organization Staatsbosbeheer announced on Saturday. Local police are currently investigating the possibility, according to Omroep Brabant.

The fire, now considered to be the largest in Dutch history, burned through at least eight hundred hectares of woodland on April 20. It is now being investigated whether or not human intervention had been responsible for the fire having arisen in the first place, although few leads have so far turned up, according to the report.

According to Staatsbosbeheer, satellites have been able to track the fire's origin to a point between the villages of Helenaveen and Griendtsveen. "We have received satellite images that show very clearly where the fire started and how it spread. That, in combination with the weather conditions during that period, makes it plausible that the fire did not start spontaneously," a Staatsbosbeheer spokesperson told Omroep Brabant.

"Nine out of ten fires are caused by human actions. Nature does not just burn itself," they added.

Staatsbosbeheer is awaiting the results from the police investigation in order to determine whether or not the fire had a human origin, according to the report.

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