Dutch Chinook helicopters to the rescue to extinguish the forest fire in the Brecht (Belgium) nature reserve

MD902 of the Belgian Federal Police over Brecht © Jozef Vanden Broeck

This Friday morning, a fire broke out in the military area of ​​Brecht, north of Brasschaat (Belgium), during a shooting exercise by the 11th Engineer Battalion. After several hours of fighting against the flames, with the assistance of Dutch helicopters, the situation was back under control on Saturday.

Military personnel on-site promptly called in the fire department. The fire nonetheless spread throughout the firing range, causing heavy smoke to spread in the region.

A Federal Police MD902 Explorer helicopter fitted with a Bambi bucket tried to extinguish the fire, but its capacity is limited to 900 litres per drop. Later in the day support came from the Royal Netherlands Air Force who sent two  CH47D Chinook helicopters from airbase Gilze-Rijen, also equipped with Bambi buckets with a capacity of up to 10,000 litres each. 11th Engineer battalion bulldozers were called in to the rescue.

The provincial phase of the disaster plan has been initiated. As a precaution, a few houses on the outskirts of the military area were evacuated.

Belgian Defence apologises to the population for the inconvenience caused by this fire and thanks the firefighters, Belgian and Dutch, the military and all the people who helped in the fight against this fire.


  1. The situation was said NOT to be under control even on Saturday morning (Gazet van Antwerpen), so how could it have been under control in a matter of hours on Friday?
    Gilze-Rijen (not Tijen).


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