Swedes in the south and west of the country celebrated the arrival of spring earlier this week. But while this technically only means that temperatures are now consistently over zero, forecasters have warned that forest grass fires are a real risk over the weekend.
Meteorologist Lisa Frost from Swedish weather agency SMHI said on Friday that this was because fast-melting snow was uncovering grass left dry following a mild end to the summer in the region.
“There is a locally high risk of grass fires,” she told Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet, explaining that the agency had issued a class-one fire warning in the area west of Lake Vänern.
While this is the lowest on a three-level warning scale in Sweden, Frost urged people excited by the warmer weather to be cautious when starting their first barbecues of the year.
This wasn't a joke. Plenty of Swedes do indeed rush to start grilling sausages and fish outdoors the moment their thermometers edge above zero.
“You should be careful when cooking, because fire sparks can spread quickly in the dry grass,” the forecaster said.
According to SMHI, temperatures will unlikely rise above 5C even in the far south, with Frost also warning that Swedish residents should still consider wearing hats and gloves.
However despite remaining relatively chilly by global standards, plenty of sunshine is expected across much of the Nordic nation.
“In the southern parts of the country it will be sunny on both Saturday and Sunday. Norrland will get some more clouds on Saturday, but on Sunday it will be mostly sunny in almost the entire country,” explained Frost.
The news will be warmly welcomed by Swedish families enjoying staycations during the half term school holidays, which have already begun in some parts of Sweden.
Those heading away to Sweden's central and northern ski resorts such as Åre and Sälen can still expect plenty of snow.