Continued dry conditions and warm temperatures are presenting challenges across the north: a small fire broke out at Bourtange over the weekend, and barbecuing permits near the Paterswoldsemeer have been withdrawn until further notice.
A small fire burnt a patch of dried grass on a rampart at the Bourtange fort in the province of Groningen over the weekend. RTV Noord reports that the small blaze was caused by the weekly firing of the canon at the popular tourist destination. The weekly tradition involved a wad of paper being fired from the canon, but the paper landed on the side of the rampart.
The organisers of the cannon firing say that they have had a bucket of water at the ready during the warm weather, but the fire over the weekend spread too quickly for them to put it out themselves. The fort intends to fire the canon this coming Sunday at 3 p.m. as usual, but Westerwolde mayor Leendert Klaassen expressed his doubts about the wisdom of knowingly risking starting a fire for the sake of tradition.
“A single spark can have serious consequences. We’re considering keeping the area in the immediate vicinity of the cannon wet, but it may make more sense just not to fire the cannons for the time being”, mayor Klaassen told RTV Noord.
UPDATE: 3:07 p.m., Wednesday, 18 July
Director of the Bourtange fort Henri Meendering told RTV Noord that they would be using the cannon during this weekend’s Vesting Spectaculum events, but they are planning to either use a smaller cannon or move it somewhere else. The fort is also planning a fireworks show during the weekend, but the launch site for the fireworks will be relocated to a paved surface. A 4,000-liter water tank will be on site as well, just in case.
Barbecue ban at Paterswoldsemeer
OOG TV reports that barbecue permits that had been issued near the Paterswoldsemeer have been withdrawn until further notice. The management board for the Paterswoldsemeer has called for burn ban at the lake. “Due to the continued dry conditions, the regional safety authorities have advised the implementation of a burn ban.”
The ban is in effect for all areas in the vicinity of the lake, including the Hoornseplas, de Oude Badweg, Friescheveen and the shore line and the islands.
Across the region, the prolonged dry conditions in the northern Netherlands have been causing water shortages in Groningen, Drenthe and Friesland, and extra dike inspections and burning bans have been put into effect across the region.