Marcinelle: a fire broke out at the top of the Bois du Cazier slag heap

The brushwood is on fire, at the top of the Bois du Cazier slag heap, in Marcinelle. According to the firefighters on site, it was a slag heap fire. Drought and high heat cause spontaneous ignition. This is just a hypothesis, not a statement. A dozen hikers were still on the slag heap, a popular place for walks in the Charleroi region, when the firefighters arrived on site. Their first mission was to make sure no one was in the area.

The fire departments cannot access the top of the slag heap with the equipment that would allow them to effectively fight the fires that arise from right to left. They therefore use fire bats, a sort of shovel that allows them to flatten the burnt vegetation.

A helicopter was called which goes back and forth to a water point to fill a large pocket of 1000 liters which it then comes to dump on the spot. This ballet takes place between the top of the slag heap and the body of water at the Center de Délassement, the nearest water point. A second helicopter “parks” nearby to take over if necessary. A large swimming pool supplied with continuous flow is installed near the slag heap to enable the helicopter to draw water from it without having to make journeys lasting several minutes.

The situation will require monitoring for several hours on site. The risk is that the wind, which is blowing hard, carries with it an incandescent plant that will ignite the vegetation further away.

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