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Fire ravages nature reserve

Published on 10/08/2004

10 August 2004

BRUSSELS – Firefighters fought through the night on Monday as fires ravaged a nature reserve near Jalhay and Baelen.

The blaze was reported to be under control on Tuesday but 50 to 80 hectares of protected land at the Hautes Fagnes had already been destroyed.

The fire broke out around 2pm on Monday near to “La Fontaine de Terigni”.

“I was alerted at 4pm in the afternoon. It was the centre of the natural
reserve that was on fire, the most sensitive place where the fauna is the
most protected,” said Dr Jean Collard, a park ranger.

Fire crews from neighbouring towns were quick to arrive on the scene but
were held back by difficult access to the area.

Dry conditions caused by the recent heatwave fuelled the fire, causing it to spread to an even wider area.

Rules banning the entry of fire engines to the sensitive natural reserve
also hampered efforts to stop the raging blaze.

The fire fighters were forced to send smaller tracked vehicles instead which were only capable of carrying 1000 litres of water.

The cause of the blaze is yet to be established but one expert claimed that
the line of the fire followed along a duckboard is proof of a rambler’s

Ramblers are still allowed to walk in the area but the presence of red flags
urges caution.

“Years of work have just gone up in smoke. Walkers must really be careful,” said Jose Lahaye, mayor of Jalhay.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news