Large nature fire in Flanders after army exercise

Since yesterday, a large nature fire has been raging in the Flemish Brecht, which has arisen after a shooting exercise by the army. According to latest reports, about 1,000 hectares of land would have been destroyed. The fire isnt under control yet.

Just as a

precaution, 400 residents and a campsite were evacuated yesterday. They had to spend the night elsewhere. For now, its not safe for them to return, says Mayor Sven Deckers to the VRT.

The black smoke can be seen in the surrounding area, up to Antwerp, which is 30 kilometres away. Firefighters throughout Flanders have jumped to put out the fire.

Dutch aid

Since yesterday the Belgian army has no fire-fighting helicopters, the Dutch army has been helping with two Chinook helicopters trying to put out the fire from the air, reports the VRT.

There is much criticism of the Belgian army that conducted an exercise in the nature reserve. Normally, theres an army fire truck standing by in the training grounds, but yesterday it was in maintenance. As a result, the fire could quickly grab around it.

An anonymous source close to the army leadership speaks of an unfortunate circumstance. โ€œThat car could have provided the first rapid intervention.โ€

But even if that car had been there, no one would be able to work with it. The only two members of staff authorised to work with the fire extinguishing vehicle have been retired for at least five years, writes the VRT.