One heath fire after another: how bad is that really?

One heath fire after another: how bad is that really?
One heath fire after another: how bad is that really?
September 04, 2022 12:11

Site manager Aalt Bronkhorst is examining the damage caused by the heath fire in Uddel. Photo: Omroep Gelderland

UDDEL – There have been several small fires and three larger heath fires in the Veluwe this week. Are forest rangers and site managers concerned? And how bad is such a heath fire really?

It hit the heath in Uddel a few times this week. Aalt Bronkhorst, site manager at Kroondomein Het Loo, indicates that the larger fires are a cause for concern. “It is now even drier than a week ago. The previous fires were small, this time it is larger. We are concerned with this drought about how things will continue.”

Snakes and vipers burned

He is more optimistic about the consequences of the fires. “I think the heath is still spreading out here. We have found a few grass snakes and vipers that are victims of this fire, but nothing else.”

However, he emphasizes that it is important to be extra vigilant. “If a larger area goes up in flames, it will take several years to recover. We hope that people are really very careful with fire in nature.”

Difficult to find cause

Firelighters were found in one of the fires and there seems to be a purpose. The cause of the other fires is not yet known. In response to the fire in Elspeet on Saturday evening, a police spokesperson said: “With this drought, there can also be many other causes of a fire. A discarded cigarette butt can be sufficient for a large fire. The cause is often difficult to determine. as tracks literally go up in flames.”

Consequences not always disastrous

In the past, fire was often used to maintain heathland. Under certain circumstances, a fire in a heathland does not have to be disastrous at all. The fire destroys the plants that would otherwise displace the heath. Fire ecologist Merlijn Hoftijzer states that sheep can help restore heathland after a fire.

After a major fire on the Ginkelse Heide in Ede in 2018, he said: “Only with the right aftercare can you develop such a field as a great heathland again. You now get an explosion of grasses, but if you have grazers, your area changes. again in a beautiful heathland.”

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The article is in Dutch

Tags: heath fire bad

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