Flanders' nature reserves are dry and risk catching fire. Credit: Belga
Nature reserves in East and West Flanders are on yellow alert for fires since Wednesday due to the drought of recent weeks.
Yellow alert is the second level of four, signifying that there is a risk. The other levels are green (little risk), orange (high risk) and red (extremely high risk).
“The nature reserves are starting to become drier, which increases the risk of fire. Managers and fire brigades are extra vigilant,” the Flemish Agency for Nature and Forestry (ANB) said on its website, where all warnings for Flanders are listed.
The announcement comes after the provinces of Antwerp and Limburg were placed on red alert on Monday. Flemish Brabant is on yellow alert with the exception of the Merode region, which borders Antwerp and Limburg and is also on red alert.
In case of a red alert, “access to the area is not recommended. Starting a fire is forbidden,” according to ANB. If a fire does break out, the fire brigades will use heavy equipment to fight it.
Meanwhile, no specific measures have been put in place in Wallonia to fight the drought. They have banned access to nature reserves, however, and are implementing increased surveillance of all nature, according to the Walloon Public Service.
The Walloon Department of Nature and Forests also pointed out that while its nature too could risk catching fire, the containment measures mean that the public is hardly ever present in natural environments.