Fire risk: access to most forests prohibited in the Bas-Rhin

Until August 16, access to the massifs of 155 municipalities will be closed to the public, said the prefecture. A first in the East department.

Faced with the risk of fires, access to most of the forests of Bas-Rhin has been prohibited since Saturday by the prefecture, a first in this department of eastern France. “In order to reduce the risk of fires starting, the prefect of Bas-Rhin has decided to prohibit (…) access to woods and forests” of 155 municipalities in this department, specifies a decree, the measure applying until Tuesday August 16 at noon.

Impossible for motorists, cyclists or hikers to travel with a vehicle or even on foot on forest tracks, footpaths or other rural roads. Same prohibition for hunters and fishermen. The sectors concerned by the decree concern in particular the east of the department with its Vosges part but also the forest of Haguenau, further north. Only residents and establishments open to the public whose access requires passing through these massifs are exempt from these restrictions.

A first

The measure, aimed at preventing the outbreak of fire, is “a first” in this department of the Grand Est, specifies the prefecture. Access to the forests was only prohibited after the great storm of 1999 and during the first confinement in March 2020, note the Latest News from Alsace. “It is an extreme disposition in the face of an exceptional situation.“, underlines Pierre Grandadam, the president of the forest communes of Alsace, who finds the measure “appropriate“.

Closing the forest is very difficult to enforce, we only do it as a last resort, but there, everything is dry, the slightest gesture can lead to fire, I’ve never seen that“, says Mr. Grandadam, 74 years old. Offenders risk a fine of 135 euros and checks could be carried out by the police as part of their usual service, according to the prefecture.

As of August 3, the prefect Josiane Chevalier had banned fireworks, campfires and barbecues. “We pray now for the rain to comeadds Mr. Grandadam. The Météo France site predicts thunderstorms over the next week in the department.

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