Sweden – The Swedish weather continues to keep people on their toes as forecasters warn that around half of the country could be at risk of grass fires, only a few days after a ‘white Easter’ saw towns experience their coldest April nights in decades.
Southern Sweden was covered with up to 10cm of snow while the mercury in Floda dropped to -17C during the holidays, but now, national forecaster SMHI says that large parts of the country are at risk of grass fires. The cause? Dry grass from last year that has been newly exposed by melted snow.
Warnings have been issued in Jämtland, Västernorrland, Gävleborg, Dalarna, Västmanland, Örebro, Uppsala, Värmland, Stockholm, Gotland, Kronoberg and parts of Västra Götaland a stretch running from far in the north to deep in the south.
People in Sweden have been advised to “take great caution” when lighting fires outdoors in those areas.
“The grass is almost like gunpowder at this time of the year,” Leif Lindahl, a fire engineer at Sweden’s Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) explained to news agency TT.
“You have to keep an eye on the wind, carry extinguishing equipment, plan and ideally be a group of several people. Aside from that, I think you should think twice before you start as to whether you really need to light a fire.”
Sweden has around 2000-3000 grass fires every year, according to MSB statistics. The season peaks in April and May before grass from the previous year is replaced by new vegetation.