Wildfires in Sweden


The Wildfire Emergency in Sweden, Norway and Finnland 2018

22 July 2018 / updated on 23 July 2018

update 23 July

Swedish firefighters have been battling throughout the summer in what has been described by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency as the country’s “most serious” wildfire situation of modern times with the country struggling with extreme drought and record temperatures. Sweden experienced its hottest May on record, with some cities recording their hottest individual May days since records began 150 years ago. The combination of extended hot spells and lack of sufficient rainfall created hazardous fire conditions, which, when mixed with human error and lightning, set off so many fires that response personnel could not handle the situation.  While most small fires were successfully contained, especially the ones which were hard to access burned out of control and have grown very large. According to the TT news agency, the fires have destroyed forests valued at 600m Swedish krona ($67m).

Sweden has received international assistance through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism from countries Denmark, Germany, France, Italy, Lithuania and Poland; 500 Swedish soldiers have also mobilized. Fixed-wing aircraft has come from Italy and France while Germany has provided 5 helicopters; Poland dispatched a convoy of 44 fire engines and 140 firefighters.

The situation in Norway has been similar, with many fires burning out of control; the military was also activated to assist exhausted firefighters. On July 12 it was reported that over 100 fires were ignited as a result of lightning.

Tragically, on 15 July a firefighter has died resulting from injuries sustained on the fireline.

The fires have extended into the Arctic circle with fires also burning in Finland’s northern most region, Lapland.

A further heat spell is expected in the region over the coming days, raising again fire danger for the coming 5 days.


The three forecasts show forest fire risk ignition (HBV index) for Wednesday and Saturday 25 and 28 July 2018 and the  forest fire risk spread (FWI index) for  Saturday 28 July 2018.

Source: https://www.dinsakerhet.se/sakrare-fritid/skog-och-mark/hur-stor-ar-brandrisken-dar-jag-bor/


EU coordinates further assistance to help Sweden fight forest fires

The European Commission has promised extra help for Sweden as it struggles to contain dozens of forest fires. Emergency services said the number of fires had been halved but dozens still blaze.

July 21

Published by: https://www.dw.com/en/eu-coordinates-further-assistance-to-help-sweden-fight-forest-fires/a-44774984


The European Commission (EC) on Saturday pledged to provide additional help for Sweden as it seeks to contain dozens of fires that have been raging for over a week across hundreds of hectares of the country and parts of Finland and Norway.

“The Commission has been working 24/7 since Sweden requested EU assistance to battle the unprecedented forest fires as hundreds of hectares burn in the regions of Jamtland, Gavleborg, Dalarna, Norrbotten and Vasterbotten,” according to a statement.

Aircraft are already being provided by Italy and France and more support will be offered by Germany, Poland, Lithuania and Denmark through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.

“The EU stands by the Swedish government and the Swedish people in their time of need,” said the EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides. “This is solidarity in action. This is what our citizens expect in a Europe that protects,” he added.

The blazes are mostly in central and western Sweden but also in the north, above the Arctic Circle, and on the Baltic Sea island of Gotland.

Number of fires halved

Sweden’s Swedish emergency services, SOS Alarm, said on Saturday that the number of fires had been cut to 44 by 9:00am (07:00 UTC) on Saturday, down from about 80 on Friday night.

Swedish Radio reported that the fires in the Ljusdal municipality are believed to be the largest in modern Swedish history, with over 13,000 hectares (32,123 acres) of forest on fire, spread over three large fires.

No deaths or injuries have been reported so far but large evacuations have taken place.

Weather forecasts are predicting light showers on Sunday after several days of unusually high temperatures in Europe’s Nordic region of over 32 degrees Celsius (90 Fahrenheit).

Help from many sources 

About 500 voluntary soldiers from the Swedish military have been sent to the key areas in the central region of Alvdalen and the government has asked for help from the military, hundreds of volunteers and other European nations

A German organization has also sent five helicopters with specialized equipment to help, while 140 Polish firefighters and 44 fire engines have been sent to help.


Scarcely Seen Scandinavian Fires

July 17

Published by: https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/92454/scarcely-seen-sweden-fires


Scorching, dry conditions are spurring historic wildfire outbreaks across Sweden this summer. On July 19, 2018, more than 40 fires dotted the country, causing firefighters to scramble and hundreds of people to evacuate their homes. The Swedish government called for international assistance—the second time this summer—and received firefighting airplanes and helicopters from Italy and Norway.

The natural-color image above was acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite on July 17, 2018. The largest fire was near Ljusdal, although Kårböle, Jämtland, and several towns have been evacuated due to fires. No fatalities have been reported so far. The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service forecast model shows an increase in fine particulate pollution above the fire-stricken areas this week.

The intense fires are unusual for this time of the year, as Sweden’s summers are normally mild. In May 2018, several cities experienced their hottest May days in 150 years of recordkeeping. Temperatures cooled off in June, but returned to record highs in July, when Sweden’s national weather agency issued a warning for extremely high temperatures. At the same time, Sweden has experienced very low rainfall this summer.

This temperature anomaly map is based on data from MODIS on NASA’s Terra satellite. It shows land surface temperatures from July 1-15, 2018, compared to the 2000–2015 average for the same two-week period. Red colors depict areas that were hotter than average; blues were colder than average. White pixels were normal, and gray pixels did not have enough data, most likely due to excessive cloud cover. Note that it depicts land surface temperatures, not air temperatures. Land surface temperatures reflect how hot the surface of the Earth would feel to the touch in a particular location. They can sometimes be significantly hotter or cooler than air temperatures. (To learn more about land surface temperatures and air temperatures, read: Where is the Hottest Place on Earth?)

The hot, dry conditions helped create the severe fire risk for the Sweden. As of July 20, Sweden has over 10,000 hectares of burned land, which is nearly 24 times higher than the amount of burned land averaged over 2008-2017, according to the Copernicus Emergency Management Service.

High temperatures and wildfires are also hitting neighboring countries and as far north as the Arctic circle. All-time high temperatures were hit in 14 locations in Norway, including Troms county where temperatures hit 33°C (92°F), as the southern part of the country was peppered with fires in 100 localities last week. Northern Finland saw temperatures of 33°C (91°F) on July 18, while wildfires also spread near the border of Finland and Russia.

The natural-color image below shows fires near the Russia-Finland border. The image was captured by MODIS on NASA’s Aqua satellite on July 20, 2018.

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