Large Wildfire Burns in Netherlands National Park

By TOBY STERLING | April 22, 2014

A large wildfire destroyed at least 530 hectares (1,300 acres) in the Netherlands’ Hoge Veluwe National Park on Sunday, one of the worst fires seen in the region for decades, Dutch authorities said.

No injuries have been reported, according to Mayor Cees van der Knaap of the municipality of Ede, 65 kilometers (40 miles) east of Amsterdam, which oversees the park.

Military helicopters and firefighters from surrounding provinces have been summoned to assist in combating the fire, which has been difficult to control because of strong winds.

The park is home to the Kroeller-Mueller Museum, which houses a major collection of Impressionist art and 20th-century sculpture. Around 2,000 visitors were instructed to leave the park after the fire broke out around midday and the museum was closed.

Van der Knaap told a regional broadcaster the art is not in danger, but around 300 paintings have been brought to a fireproof area for safety.

A nearby highway has been closed and people who live near the park have been instructed to remain indoors because of smoke.

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