Fires destroy 40ha on Friesian island

17th May 2004, Comments 0 comments

17 May 2004 ,

17 May 2004

AMSTERDAM — A series of forest fires destroyed about 40ha of natural habitat on the Wadden Sea island Terschelling over the weekend, but fire fighters had the blazes under control by Sunday night.

The first beach dune fire started at about 6am at the Bosplaat on Saturday, followed by a large blaze in the same region that afternoon. The second fire was brought under control on Saturday night.

But a rising northern wind rekindled the flames in the eastern section of the island on Sunday morning. Arson is suspected as the initial cause of the fires.

Several hectares of dune habitat, beach grass and hardwood forest were destroyed in the Saturday fires, while primarily bird nests and a birch forest was destroyed on Sunday. About 40ha in total was destroyed.

Due to the strong wind, the smoke from the fires was visible from the Friesland mainland both on Saturday and Sunday, newspaper NRC Handelsblad said. Fire fighters reported a large number of telephone calls, particularly on Saturday.

Despite the fact the fire brigade had the situation under control by Sunday evening, fire fighters kept a close watch overnight to prevent any flare-ups, news agency ANP reported.

As the fire raged out of control, two helicopters were called in on Sunday to assist fire fighters who found it difficult to reach the flames. Forest fire specialists were also called in.

The first helicopter can dump 2,500lr of water from the North Sea on the fire front, while the second helicopter can hold 10,000lr. Both aircraft regularly assist fire fighters, such as during a fire at cacao plant in Zaandam in 2002.

The deployment of the second helicopter was especially thought to have helped bring the Sunday blaze under control.

An extra 25 mainland fire fighters from the province of Friesland were dispatched to Terschelling on Monday to prevent any further problems.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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