Dry spring puts rural provinces on bushfire alert

trees on firePhoto: Bertknot via Flickr

The long dry spell has raised the risk of bush fires, especially in southern provinces, weather experts have warned.

Zeeland, Gelderland and northern and central Limburg have all issued Code Oranje warnings, while Brabant is on yellow alert.

Three months with little rain have put 2017 in the top 10 driest years on record, according to the meteorological institute KNMI. It expects that by the end of this week average rainfall across the country will be 150mm short of the usual level.




Most of the rainfall in the spring has come in short, heavy bursts, which makes the problem worse, Weerplaza meteorologist Michiel Severin told AD. ‘When it rains steadily the water can soak into the ground, but in a heavy shower part of it flows over the ground and straight into the drainage system.’

The dry spell has continued into June, with only one day of significant rain on June 9, when between 15 and 35mm fell. Long spells of warm sunshine cause the ground to dry up faster. ‘Because no rain is falling and moisture on the ground is evaporating, natural areas are continuing to dry out,’ said Severin.

Visitors to the countryside are advised to be extra aware of the potential of fire and report any incidents immediately. Fires are likely to spread quickly in the tinderbox conditions, Weerplaza has warned.