WoodfireUnder normal weather conditions, March and August are the months in which forest fires are most likely to occur. A forest fire can be natural in origin (e.g. lightning during a thunderstorm) or of human origin (e.g. arson, poorly controlled barbecue, throwing cigarette butts on the ground). Although it is difficult to influence the natural causes, we can still adopt behaviour which makes it possible to reduce the risk of forest fires.
If you live near a forest
- Provide means to extinguish a fire (hose points, equipment, etc.). Make sure the garden hoses are long enough to reach all points of your property.
- Remove all dead wood from the surrounding area.
- Avoid plastic gutters, don’t store fuel reserves (wood, gas cylinders, ...) up against your home.
If you go into the forest
- Comply with the regulations and guidelines that are indicated on the edge of the forest.
- Please refer to the risk indicators that are displayed e.g. risk indicator Lummen.
- Use your vehicle only on the authorised roads and respect the prohibitions.
- Do not park your car above combustible material, such as high, dry grass or other dry vegetation.
- Do not block the forest roads with your vehicle.
- Do not smoke in the woods, do not light a fire, do not throw cigarette butts on the ground.
- Do not light a barbecue or a campfire.
- Avoid unauthorised camping.
- Know the evacuation routes and shelters. Teach your children to recognise them too.
- Always take a mobile phone with you when you enter a forest or nature area.
- Inquire about the risk before going to the forest and learn the good habits for avoiding a fire.
If a fire is approaching, protect your home
- Fight the fire if it is not too large and if this is feasible0
- Spray the area of your house and the wooden parts as long as the fire has not reached it.
- Call 112 and tell the operator the precise route to your home for the emergency services.
- Do not evacuate on your own initiative, but wait for the official recommendations by the authorities.
- If possible, shut doors and windows of your home and also disconnect electricity and gas before leaving your home.
If you're in the woods
- Call 112 as soon as possible and designate the location as precisely as possible (coordinates);
- Go to a place of safety and leave immediately at right angles to the wind direction.
- Do not go to see what is happening on the spot.
- Let the emergency services do their job.
If you're camping
- Leave your car outside the campsite to facilitate evacuation;
- If the emergency services order you to evacuate, do so on foot to avoid traffic on the campsite.
If the fire is near your home
- Do not enter your home unless you have been authorized to do so by the emergency services.
- Walk around your home and make sure nothing is smouldering that could set your house ablaze.
- Check that any risk has disappeared. If in doubt, call 112 again.
In the forest
- Do not go walking in a forest after a fire: the ground is still hot and small fires may still be burning. A forest may be closed off for up to three weeks after a fire.