More than 500 evacuated after Netherlands forest fire

29th August 2009, Comments 0 comments

Forest fire threatens Dutch seaside town

The Hague - About 550 people, many of them pensioners or guests at a luxury hotel, were evacuated Friday after a forest fire in Schoorl in northwestern Netherlands, local officials said as the fire was brought under control around midnight.

The local mayor's office said access to the stricken area remained forbidden and the people who had been evacuated as a precautionary measure would have to spend the night in shelters or with relatives and friends.

The fire accompanied by thick smoke progressed through an area of dunes, scrubland and forests to threaten the village of Schoorl, which has about 2,800 residents.

Nobody was reported injured or missing. Those evacuated included some 50 residents of an old people's home and guests from a luxury hotel.

Eighteen teams of firefighters were at the scene, supported by a military helicopter equipped to carry water.

"All afternoon there have been clouds of orange and black smoke," a local said.

The town of Bergen equipped a sports complex to welcome the evacuees, while the pensioners, some of them in wheelchairs, were taken to another retirement home.

AFP / Expatica

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