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New fire and smoking ban in Flanders' forests

17:14 02/09/2021

Lighting cigarettes or starting campfires will soon be banned in Flanders’ woods and forests.

This is a step further from previous bans - nature reserves during very dry summer periods had systems of colour codes in place to indicate the risk of fire, prompting certain provinces to prohibit smoking and fire. You will now only be able to light a fire in a few demarcated areas. 

Flemish environment minister Zuhal Demir said of the dangers of wildfires: "We have already had a number of examples in recent years, such as the one in De Liereman and on a military training ground in Brecht (Antwerp province), where hundreds of hectares of nature were destroyed in no time."

She emphasised the added harm from climate change: "We are going to have longer periods of drought. That is why we are preparing with a general smoking and fire ban, which will also be easier to enforce."

The new measure will also deter littering, as cigarette butts comprise a large proportion of litter. The ban will be implemented this autumn.

Photo: Robert DeKock/BELGA


Written by Rebecca Rommen