Dry weather prompts nationwide fire warning

Anybody who has walked across the sharp, prickly yellow grass could tell you that Sweden is bone dry.

The risk of forest and grass fires is higher than ever in all parts of Sweden. The combination of weeks of sun and little rain have created prime fire conditions, where careless barbecues, camp fires or even a smoldering cigarette butt could start a blaze.

On Thursday, several places are on fire.

Tyresö Brevik, near Stockholm, suffered a small forest fire on Wednesday afternoon, but firefighters were able to put it out.

Earlier in the day, in Haninge, fire departments rushed around fighting flames. Even in Södertälje, firefighters were putting out grass fires.

“When it is this dry in the woods and on the ground, a cigarette butt is enough,” said Roger Magnusson, spokesman with Södertörn’s fire response team.

According to the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, it will continue to be dry for the next few days and it will take heavy rains to make the ground damp enough for the risk to diminish.

“People have not listened to our warnings,” said Bo Johansson, spokesman for the Swedish Rescue Services Agency.

“Otherwise there would be fewer fires.”