Smoking and lighting campfires have temporarily been banned in all nature reserves, moors and forests in the province of Antwerp, announced governor Cathy Berx.
The ban is necessary because of the current drought, which creates an increased risk of fire, she said in a press release on Wednesday.
"In 2021, the first smoke and fire ban of that year was announced in the province of Antwerp on 24 April, following the devastating fire at the Groot Schietveld in Brecht," said Berx.
This year, the Flemish Agency for Nature and Forests (ANB) declared "code orange" for the risk of fire in the province of Antwerp on 20 April, meaning that lighting a fire is prohibited and children cannot be left unattended on site.
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"It will be very dry in Antwerp this spring, which unfortunately also means an increased risk of wildfires," Berx added. "So be vigilant and alert for fire in nature, and for anything that can cause a fire."
Nature managers and firefighters are also asked to be extremely vigilant, and firefighters will come out with more equipment and personnel than usual if a wildfire breaks out.
As very little rain is expected in the coming days, the risk of wildfires will only increase, Berx added.