Over 60 firefighters fought Limburg forest fire over night; Still burning
A forest fire has been raging in Mariapeel in Limburg since Wednesday morning, and little has changed in the situation overnight. The fire department got the fire under control on Wednesday evening, but firefighters are still struggling to extinguish it. About 60 firefighters spent the entire night fighting the fire, a process complicated by the darkness and dangerous smoke development. For that reason, employees of forestry service Staatsbosbeheer had to withdraw from the area on Wednesday evening.
Ook vannacht is de @Handcrew_OV ingezet met #TacticalFire. In de nacht zijn de condities om brand te bestrijden doorgaans beter, waardoor daar veel winst te behalen valt. Momenteel is een landelijk adviseur natuurbrand weer ter plaatse voor ondersteuning in de #Mariapeel. pic.twitter.com/YWTS77ujwb— Edwin Kok (@Danny722) September 1, 2022
A spokesperson for the fire department reported that one platoon of about 24 firefighters fought the fire from the east side last night. They received support from the hand crew, a specialist team of about ten to fifteen firefighters that moved into the area on foot. They have started extinguishing operations.
Firefighters already surrounded the fire by meter-wide wet stop lines on Wednesday with the help of fire fighting helicopters. On Wednesday evening, Staatbosbeheer kept the south side of the fire wet. However, the forestry service employees had to withdraw from the fire around 10:00 p.m. because the smoke development became too dangerous. “Without respiratory protective equipment, the area became unworkable because of the high concentration of CO,” said a spokesperson for the fire brigade. A platoon of about 24 firefighters on standby replaced Staatbosbeheer and managed to keep the strip of nature of a kilometer long wet during the night.
The fire has not spread further and so still covers an area of about 40 hectares, the spokesperson said. But the fire department can adequately map out the situation in daylight. Then the department will also decide whether the army helicopters that helped out on Wednesday must be called in again.
Emergency workers are laying pipes to the Helenavaart and the Griendtsveenkanaal to ensure sufficient fire-fighting water in the area. The extinguishing will likely take days yet. “We know from experience, for example, from the fire in the Deurnese Peel in the spring of 2019, that the situation can change very quickly. That is why we haven't signaled that we’ve mastered the fire yet. First, we need to be sure that we have the fire under control and can keep it that way,” the spokesperson said.
The fire brigade warns locals to be careful of the smoke and persistent stench. It could be worse on Thursday morning than yesterday due to the lower air temperature.
Het is een enorme klus in de #Mariapeel. Deze foto van @112brabant laat zien dat de brand op sommige plekken zeer intens is. Overigens staat er hier een loofboom volledig in brand: dat zien we niet vaak in Nederland, maar met deze droogte wel. pic.twitter.com/ClEhUulzlF— Edwin Kok (@Danny722) August 31, 2022
Reporting by ANP