Wildfires in the Netherlands, an odd-sounding combination. But fires occur here more often than one would think. Over the past year (2019), over 500 wildfires were reported. In 2018 this number was as high as 1000, partially as a result of drought. These fires can have a major impact, such as the fire in the Deurnese Peel earlier this year. That blaze was one of the fiercest ever recorded in the Netherlands and was able to travel rapidly due to strong winds. Firefighters and other emergency responders needed days to get the fire under control. Even once this was the case, the fire continued to smoulder for weeks, resulting in rekindling and smoke and odour development.
Wildfires are an important topic for the Netherlands. As of yet, there is a low level of awareness about the risks and how to avoid wildfires, while there is plenty of cause to be better prepared. The Netherlands is densely populated, which means people are easily affected by a wildfire. Moreover, the incidence of fires is expected to increase in the future due to the effects of climate change.
In Museon from 8 July
Not just governments, businesses and citizens must learn about the impact of fires and how to prepare, but the future generation as well. Five Wageningen University students, (Carlijn Jalink, Carmen van de Waterbeemd, Gijs Boevink, Madzy Korte, Sandra Schill) developed a news programme for the Museon in The Hague, under the supervision of wildfire expert Cathelijne Stoof. Children can learn interesting facts about wildfires, and playfully discover the best way to prepare for such an event. The stage is made extra interesting through the use of a 3D tree and an interactive game.
You can view the ‘Fire in our water country’ stage in Museon in The Hague from 8 July.