Sweden’s wildfires halved overnight and rain might be on the way

Sweden's wildfires halved overnight and rain might be on the way
Photo: TT
Huge fires are still raging in forests in several Swedish counties, but the number of blazes has dropped dramatically since Friday.

The total number of wildfires wreaking havoc across Sweden’s forests and countryside has dropped from 80 on Friday night to 44 on Saturday morning. 

This is according to the latest update by Swedish emergency services SOS Alarm, who hope showers expected to fall on Saturday around some of the affected areas will help to put out the flames. 

Firefighters dealing with one of the forest wildfires in Brattsjö in the municipality of Örnsköldvik have managed to stop the blaze from spreading overnight, Swedish news agency TT reported.

“It’s easier to deal with the morning breeze but as those winds become stronger, we will be more challenged, “says Joakim Wahlbäck, head of the rescue service in Örnsköldsvik.

In Engelsogen in Ljusdal municipality the wildfire spread two kilometres north during the night to another forested area.

The number of VMA public warnings sent out by rescue services has also dropped; their primary focus now being on protecting residents in six affected areas in Gävleborg, Dalarna and Jämtland.

In numbers: The scale of Sweden's wildfires and the efforts to contain them

More help from overseas is also being deployed, Sweden’s Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) has announced.

This includes six helicopters from Germany and Lithuania, four fire fighting planes from Italy and France and 22 firefighters from Denmark. 

Up to 139 firemen and 44 vehicles from Poland are also expected to join the mission in the hope of finally putting out the wildfires. 

The early arrival of hot and dry summer weather in Sweden, coupled with a lack of rain earlier in the year, are thought to be the main causes of this historic wildfires outbreak

Fortunately the weather forecast does point to showers and even thunderstorms on Saturday afternoon and evening, although the possibility of accompanying strong winds might make the extinguishing work harder.

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