'And we thought the fire of '59 was bad...'

Oliver Gee
Oliver Gee - [email protected]
'And we thought the fire of '59 was bad...'
Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

The Local chats to Sven Hedblom, a pensioner who lives by the edge of the bushfire sweeping across Sweden. He recalls how a 1959 bushfire in the same area was nothing compared to this one.


Sven Hedblom, 78, has lived in Västerfärnebo all his life. His father was even born there. The village, population of around 500, is 20 kilometres west of Sala, where a massive bush fire has raged for the past six days.
"We could see the flames against the sky last night," he told The Local on Tuesday. "And there's smoke everywhere here. But what's really strange to think about is that a big fire in 1959 started in almost exactly the same place as this one did."
"But that one was nothing compared to this one. It was much smaller," he recalled. "They're saying that 15,000 hectares are burning. This is a catastrophe."
Now that the winds have died down, Hedblom said he doesn't anticipate any problems for people in his village. 
As yet, residents of Västerfärnebo haven't been told to evacuate, nor even to prepare for evacuation like nearby residents of Norberg.
"But when you're as old as we are," Hedblom said, "there's not much you can do."
"I don't think people are scared but there's an uncomfortable feeling in the air. Quite uncomfortable."
The bushfire has been ranked as the worst in Sweden's modern history. In 1992, a fire scorched the Baltic island of Gotland, sweeping across 1,000 hectares. No one was killed. 


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also