Firefighters fighting a forest fire near Norrköping, Sweden on Tuesday. Photo by Niklas Luks
24 Apr 2019

Scotland, Norway and Sweden already severely effected by forest fires due to the dry weather in the north


A large forest fire currently rages in southern Norway and almost 400 people have been asked to leave their homes. Sweden is also battling wildfires from North to South, and already last week, Scotland dealt with several wildfires.

The dry weather means that the risk for new forest fires remains high in Scandinavia in the coming days, according to meteorologist Henrik Reimer at the Swedish weather service SMHI.

"It has been several weeks without any major rainfall, at least in southern Sweden. Unfortunately, we currently see no end to the dry weather", he says to the Swedish news agency TT.

Already last week, several wildfires hit the moorlands of Scotland, and the dry weather have kept the fire services on high alert due to the extremely dry weather this spring.   


Evacuations in Norway

In Southern Norway, the wildfire situation is in places already at the point of being a threat to building, people and live stock. During Wednesday, the fire is expected to move in towards the center of the city of Sokndal. 

"Several homes and cottages have been evacuated, and further evacuation is continuously being considered. There are still no reports of injured people, but in addition to the fire, there is a lot of smoke in the area", says Norwegian field fire officer Helene Strand.

Three helicopters are trying to extinguish the fire and the municipality has called in extra staff. The fire was not under control on Tuesday.

"The fire is spreading fast. All available resources are called in. The emergency services in Flekkefjord, Egersund and Sokndal, the civil defense and the police participate in fighting the fire", writes the municipality on its website.

According to the Norwegian police, about 160  households have so far been evacuated and more evacuations will follow, writes Norwegian State Television, NRK. 

An aggravating circumstance is the wind, which is blowing in the direction of the city.

"During the morning (Wednesday), we expect the fire to be close to the buildings", says Pedersen.

160 homes have been evacuated and Sokndal school were closed Tuesday day due to the fire and smoke in the area.


Sweden effected by wildfires form North to South

In Sweden, several forest fires are burning. The fire  services have been forced to call in water bombers, both in the most southern region of Skåne and near Landvetter Airport in Stockholm. 

Even on Tuesday night, the fires are raging in several places.

At 12.30 on Tuesday, the rescue service was alerted to a fire in a barn in Hästveda in northern Skåne. The fire gradually spread to a nearby house and several people have been forced to evacuate their farms nearby.

The fire is late on Tuesday evening not yet under control and according to the emergency services, the fire-fighting area covers 800 hectares.

A large number of firefighters have been called in to assist in the extinguishing work and the emergency services also have been water bombing from the air.

Forest fire near the hospital in Norrköping

Around 16.30 the fire department discovered a fire in the woods near the Vrinnevi Hospital in Norrköping. The hospital scaled up their staffing for several hours as the fire spread and became larger.

After a fire north of the city of Motala, the police have handed out a fine to a forestry company for hazardous negligence after receiving information that the fire may have been started by forestry machines.

Fire near major airport

Also in the region of Västergötland, several areas have been hit hard by wildfires during Tuesday. The emergency services were alerted shortly after 5 pm to a fire in Eskilby near Landvetter's airport.

The fire service has called in water bombers but the fire was still not under control on Tuesday night.

Fire started by fire crackers 

At 15 o'clock a grass fire broke out in Njutånger south of Hudiksvall. In total, about 12 hectares was burning and a large number of firefighters were affected. The fire may have been started by children who played with firecrackers, writes

"We are dealing with a smaller forest fire. The fire is under control, but it will take many hours to put it out completely, said Thomas Åslin, internal officer at the rescue service of Medelpad, to Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet.

In Njurunda south of Sundsvall a large grass fire broke out at 15 o'clock on Tuesday.  A total of about 12 hectares of land was burning.


Cover Photo: (Above: Firefighters fighting a forest fire near Norrköping, Sweden on Tuesday. Photo by Niklas Luks