Wildfire risk in Sweden as spring returns

Wildfire risk in Sweden as spring returns
File photo of a grass fire in southern Sweden. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
It's going to be a sunny day in most of Sweden – but beware of grass fires.

National weather agency SMHI issued a class-one warning (the least serious on a scale from one to three) for a risk of grass fires across most of southern Sweden, reaching as far north as Stockholm, on Monday.

“If you're lighting a fire, be careful,” meteorologist Moa Hallberg told newswire TT.

A grass fire warning may sound counter-intuitive to many readers when temperatures are still below freezing in most of Sweden, but it does actually make sense, according to experts.

New and fresh grass has not yet begun to grow after the winter period. When the snow melts it exposes last year's grass, which then gets dry very quickly in the cool air, explained Hallberg.

Sweden has around 2,000-3,000 grass fires every year, according to official statistics. The season peaks in April and May before grass from the previous year is replaced by new vegetation.

Last year the country experienced an unprecedented spate of forest fires, with more than 500 fires reported over the summer period – compared to a normal season of around 100 forest fires.


weather – väder

fire – eld (a controlled fire), brand (an uncontrolled fire)

grass fire – gräsbrand

forest fire – skogsbrand

careful – försiktig

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