Looming windstorms could worsen Sweden’s wildfires

Looming windstorms could worsen Sweden's wildfires
Photos: TT
A meteorological cocktail of strong winds and thunderstorms on its way to Sweden on Saturday could aggravate the wildfires still raging in some of the country’s most affected areas, authorities are warning.

The drop in temperatures in Sweden on Saturday will bring with it cold gusts of wind and thunderstorms that pose a new set of challenges for fire rescue services.

“We know that these strong winds are only going to make the blazes burn stronger and faster,” Ljusdal fire operations manager Hans Nornholm told Swedish news agency TT.

“So we are deploying extra security measures as there may be trees pulled down to the ground by the wind.

“The plan is to try to keep the fire from spreading past the boundary line while there are strong squalls, and once they stop in the evening, we fight the flames back again.”

Wildfires are still raging in 19 areas across the country, according to SOS Alarm.

The blazes around Färila in the Ljusdal municipality and in the woods east of Älvdalen in northern Dalarna require particular attention from firefighters.

The fear among rescue services now is that windstorms could spread the flames and start new fires and that lightning could also play a negative role.

“In Finspång, Norrköping and Flen some wildfires were started by thunderstorms, ” senior rescue service member Peter Arnevall told an MSB press conference.

Firefighters in Jämtland are hoping the looming bad weather won’t prevent them from putting out the flames this weekend as was previously  looking possible.

“The situation is still exceptional,” said Deputy Chief of MSB's Operational Department Mikael Tofvesson.  



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