Sweden is burning

Discussion in 'Preparedness' started by Ron, Jul 18, 2018.

  1. Ron

    Ron Guide

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    I did not know what forum to choose, but this seemed most appropriate; widespread forest fires.
    I know the US and Canada see more than their fair share of forestfires each year, often with devastating effect to not just forests, but civilisation too.
    However what we are facing in Sweden today is a nationwide spread of forestfires; 80 on yesterdays count, still raging and with a good number not under control. That means that practically everyone living in the countryside is at risk, since the entire country is so dry and it is so hot, with no sign of relief, that the possibilty of a new fire erupting anywhere, is very high. I wrote a little piece about it last night on my blog;

    [​IMG]

    Months of heat and above all drought have caused serious problems in the country I now call home. The most acute one are forestfires. They blossom up all over the country and firefighters and associated personel are being kept real busy nationwide. Many are relatively small fires and are under control or put out fairly rapidly, but right now there are 3 major fires (that I follow) raging in the region of central Sweden, in the provinces of Dalarna, Gävleborg and Jämtland.
    Our province, Dalarna, has seen its share of fires, but our area has been spared so far, luckily, apart from a minor one, some 7 km to our north, which was taken care of quickly and effectively.
    I can only hope that this situation will maintain that way, but looking at the weather forecast I can only see very high temperatures (for our area), blazing sun and even some rising wind. Firefighting crews and material are being worn down and out, so I do fear the problems are not over just yet.

    [​IMG]

    Thankfully Sweden was able to hire waterdropping helicopters and planes from Norway and Italy, but these can not remain operational idefinitely either. Personally I feel that it is madness that a country with such large wooded areas does not have such equipment of its own, especially after the disastrous events in 2014, where both lack of heavy equipment and blundering local and national authorities allowed for a massive area being laid to waste.

    But once again authorities are not stepping up adequately and decisively. Our own municipally has no information on its website whatsoever, a lot of confusion and unclearity in regard to firebans is plaging communications and the national government is nowhere to be seen or heard. I feel that if there was a time for them to act, it would be now. An absolute and nationwide ban on all sorts of open fire should be declared. This is a national issue right now and it would with one stroke remove any and all uncertainties. But that is just my opinion.
    What equally pisses me off is that there are still people out there, who simply disregard warnings and danger. People still bring out their barbecues, put them on the grass or near vegetation and happily grill away, thinking a bucket of water will take care of any events. Similar within the outdoor community, where folks still insist on the use of portable means of fire, like gascookers and such, claiming they know what they do, that it still is allowed and that they apparantly MUST have the coffee or lunch made on the spot.

    Meanwhile current meteorological conditions are causing massive other problems too. The farmers are getting into trouble. Not only do I fear a complete disaster for many or most crops, but especially those with livestock are in trouble. The first cut of grass for winterfodder yielded less than 50% in many places and a second cut simply will not happen. The grass does not grow.
    In and around our village every conceivable piece of grassland has been cut and harvested, some for the first or second time since we moved here 6 years ago, apart for a large field, which appears to be publically owned. I also read reports of farmers already having to slaughter their livestock, because there is no food for the animals, which will have longterm ramifications for the farmers and Sweden's homegrown foodsupply. Here too is the absence of governmentaction painfully obvious and any helpinitiatives come from private sources for as far as I know.
    People growing their own fruit and vegetables at home or gather that in the woods, also see their crops go to waste, if there even are any. Plants wither or fail to fruit. Foodprices will soar coming winter, I'm sure.

    Either way I will volunteer to help as soon as my wife's car comes back from the workshop. It broke down a 2,5hr drive away from home last weekend and I will not leave them stranded at home, in a wooded area, when current risks are still so high. Because of the distance to the current hotsports (painfully literally) it is not an option to just drive back in an instant in case of an emergency. And such an emergency can pop up at any one time.

    Stay safe out there!
     
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  2. GoKartz

    GoKartz Sharpaholic Supporter

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    Oy, forest fires aren’t good, and on that scale... good luck, hope you and your family stay safe Ron. I grew up in the NW and experienced several forest fires... never pleasant seeing that smoke plume.
     
  3. Ron

    Ron Guide

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    When it comes to preparedness it is the one scenario that would make me force to leave home or bug out.
    And one flaw immediately showed; mobility. Currently one of our cars has broken down, during a trip, in a location 2,5 hrs away from home. We are a family of 5 with 2 large dogs. cats and chickens too.
    What to bring and how in case of an evac? Chances are there will be nothing to go back to, once it is all over.
     
  4. Hawkcreek

    Hawkcreek Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    Sorry you're going through this. Sometimes it takes a while for municipalities to pull their head out and figure things out. When I was a small boy my mom took me to town to be with a family friend while she came back out to the ranch. My mother and my step dad fought to save the ranch until the fire departments showed up, all because a fire chief thought a fire burning miles away was fine to leave unattended overnight. Now days the local (all volunteer around here for all towns within an hour drive) guys are quick to act and mutually support each other.

    Where I live I have the same feeling about leaving. Defensible areas are cut through the grass every year, sprinklers, hoses and fire fighting apparatus is staged. I am lucky in that during fire season I can drive either one of my trucks in any direction to get away if things got that bad. I won't leave until I've exhausted my resources, unfortunately at this point all recourses hinge on having electrical power to run the well.
     
  5. GoKartz

    GoKartz Sharpaholic Supporter

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    I remember that feeling - just a couple years ago there was a bad fire in the Smokey Mountains, about 25 minutes from where I lived, and my wife and I talked about exactly that.
     
  6. slysir

    slysir Guide

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    We have numerous fires in Florida every year. Most started by lightning. I work in a State Park. We do prescribed burns every year.

    What I'm about to say may sound callous. Fires are devastating and quite dangerous to populated human areas, but are great for the over all ecosystem. They are necessary and beneficial for what they ultimately provide.

    Just stay safe and out of their way, and do what ever is required to protect personal property. Control, not elimination is what needs to be done. I have total respect for the firefighters putting their lives on the line to keep things from going from bad to worse!!

    -John
     
  7. Beach Hiker

    Beach Hiker Traveller Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Take care @Ron.
    Thanks for the detailed report. Stay safe and keep the prepared mindset you have now.
     
  8. Primordial

    Primordial MOA #40 Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    YIKES! Stay safe and just do the best you can to be ready to evacuate if you need to. I hope it never comes to that.
     
  9. Zunga

    Zunga Supporter Supporter

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    Stay safe my friend. Hopefully this event will change attitudes. Both government and public. Partial or full fire bans are the norm here in summer. The government upped the penalties a few years before the fort Mac fire. People still generally ignored the rules ( a fire during a ban is a $1100 fine, first offence). After fort Mac people became much more serious about the rules. Hopefully this will be a far less destructive eye opener for your neighbours. Crossing my finger for everyone in harm's way. Good luck!
    Cheers Jim
     
  10. Swampdog

    Swampdog Supporter Supporter

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    In preparing for evacuation, make sure you have all of your insurance paperwork, photographs of your property, and your medical paperwork in a box that you "can grab and go" if and when you need to leave in a hurry.

    Plenty of people and dog food to take with you; line up a place to go to (friend or relative) ahead of time... HAVE A PLAN!
     
  11. Paul Foreman

    Paul Foreman Supporter Supporter

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    mercy, ron. prayers for you, your family, and sweden ...
     
  12. Ron

    Ron Guide

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    Thanks. We're still in the blue, so to speak, but that can change anytime.
    A forest fire sure clears the way for a whole new kind of flora and thus fauna. Saw that last week when I visited the old large fire area, south of here.

    People still keep using open fire outside. People visiting their cabin, regular tourists wanting a sausage or even people from within the outdoor community, insisting on having a cuppa joe, claiming they know what they're doing. Folks just do not care. But I have a suspicion that the majority of those do not live in the country themselves.
     
  13. Paul Foreman

    Paul Foreman Supporter Supporter

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  14. Zunga

    Zunga Supporter Supporter

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    Bad choices are not limited to novices. Last fire season here. A group of fire fighters, fighting a Forrest fire. Got busted having a fire in their base camp. Needless to say they caught a fat fine and publicly shamed. On the flip side. I've seen people get out of their car at a light. Tell off another driver for tossing a lit smoke out a window. A very common cause of fires every year. Unfortunately attitudes tend not to change until they suffer a personal cost. Hopefully a close call is all that is needed.
    Cheers Jim
     
  15. gila_dog

    gila_dog Supporter Supporter

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    Is this an unusual thing for Sweden? It sounds like it, because there seems to be so little preparation on the part of the people and the government. Where I live forest fires are an annual event. It's even worse in California where the population density is so high. When the weather is very dry and the forests catch on fire, if the fires get very big there is nothing human beings can do to put them out. The air tankers and helicopters can put out small fires, and maybe keep a big fire from threatening civilization or watersheds, but until the rain starts the fires will just keep burning.
    The best thing for you to do is to get all your important papers, meds, valuables, etc, gathered up and ready to go. Get your vehicles in good shape and ready to go. Find some places you can evacuate to, and scout the roads so you can get there quickly. If you have to evacuate, so will a lot of other people, and the roads could get jammed up. With pets, chickens, etc, it's going to be harder to find a place to evacuate where you can take your animals. If you have a trailer where you can put your animals, your supplies, etc, and hook it to your car that will be a big help.
    In our area our power lines go thru thick, rugged forest country. We've had fires and snow destroy our power lines several times. That's when our generator has been very valuable. One advantage we have over you, is that since fires are so common the US Forest Service does a good job of fighting the fires and trying to protect private property. We also have volunteer fire departments that are equipped and trained pretty well. But a big fire can overwhelm everything people do. Even if the fire passes you by it can destroy your power lines and pollute your water.
    One problem you could have is simply gathering up all your people if you need to evacuate. Make a plan with your family. Where to meet? How to communicate? What to bring? Also think about your neighbors, especially old people or people with little kids.
    Good luck, and I hope it rains soon!
     
  16. Hunt4lyf

    Hunt4lyf Guide Bushclass I

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    The Spring fire in Colorado, which is the states 3rd largest and has destroyed 141 structures and is still burning, was started by a guy cooking sausages, he was here on a work visa which is expired and is now facing 141 counts of arson.
     
  17. Bitterroot Native

    Bitterroot Native Indigenous Skills Junkie Supporter

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    Gorgeous picture! Sweden looks like a great place to live (the countryside at least). I feel your pain, forest fires are a regular thorn in my side where I live. I smell and breathe thick smoke for a least a couple months out of the year! At least when the smoke from the campfire comes my way it doesn't seem as bad as I'm used to it.
    Be safe and keep your wits about you! Forest fires are dangerous beasts. Good on ya for volunteering to help too!
     
  18. mtwarden

    mtwarden roaming the Big Sky Supporter

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    sadly wildfires aren't going to be going away any time soon- for many areas average temps are going upward, annual precip downward- a recipe for fires

    while fires are a natural occurrence, we've unnaturally prevented them for decades creating unnatural fuel loads- combine that with an increase in beetle kill timber (also an effect of rising temps), a large decrease in timber harvest and an increase in folks inhabiting wildfire areas- it's not a real pretty picture

    while lightning strikes aren't preventable, we have folks that are about as smart as a horse's patoot and needlessly start fires a plenty

    good luck my friend, I know exactly what you're experiencing and it's no fun
     
  19. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue Graybeard Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Sorry for your troubles. Fire is scary. It is the only thing that would make me bug out too.

    I lived in a quite dangerous spot for fires for 16 years. They are just finishing putting out a 435,000 acre fire just north of that place. I only had to leave once, and then I didn’t leave but escorted my family out through the fire and then went back to protect our home. It was close. At the last minute, literally, the biggest fire tanker (the DC10) in the US fleet dumped a load and killed the spread of the fire toward our little town. Scary.
     
  20. FIELDCRAFTLTC

    FIELDCRAFTLTC Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    @Ron, prayers for you and your family's safety during this troublesome time, and for some favorable weather to help the firefighters get things under control.
     
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  21. Muleman77

    Muleman77 Hobbyist Hobbyist

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    Doesn't look good pardner. Been there many times as well. Lightning events will start dozens, and rarely hundreds of fires at a time here. Looks like what happened to you.

    No way to catch em all, its a bad deal.

    The advice you already got from @gila_dog I'll just repeat. Make a plan, get your act together and hope for the best.

    Sorry to see it happening there, it's beautiful country.
     
  22. Swarvegorilla

    Swarvegorilla Guide

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  23. MTplainsman

    MTplainsman Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Until this year, my state has been under severe to exceptional drought for several years now. last year nearly 500,000 acres or 202,000 hectares went up in smoke in MT. We had a grassland fire near me that burnt 270,000 acres or 110,000 hectares. Montana is a little smaller than Sweden and about the same size as Germany. We get hundreds and hundreds of fires every year, but we have 9 times less population than Sweden, so the impact is not nearly the same as you! If your population is dispersed fairly evenly throughout your country, then I certainly see where so many fires scattered across the land can be a real concern! Stay safe my friend, and have a plan ready for your family and God bless you in these times.
     
  24. Ron

    Ron Guide

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    Thanks for all the well wishes!
    We are not in trouble personally, yet. Allthough we got spooked pretty good as our valley had filled up with smoke during the night. Now that the wind is picking up the air gets better, but it also means that the still raging fires get fanned up. We just got word from the officials with the request for people to scout the area for an signs of fire, though, both from the ground as well as from the air. People are very alert these days.
    The main fires to our north (actually nortwest through to north east) are still not under control.
    We all know that forestfires are a part of natural cycles, but the sheer number and magnitude are extreme for these parts of the glode.
     
  25. arleigh

    arleigh Guide

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    Sorry for the stress your are in .
    I fought fire as a youth in the mountain of northern California in those days the CDF .
    I live in southern California now and I am prepared to fight fire here on the ranch if it should happen .
    You do what you can for prevention, and sometimes the wind undoes all your work ,but you prepare never the less .
    My water revivors are full and I keep tools handy for doing the job . which reminds me ,I need to test the gas powered water pumps again .
    I have a set of water heater tanks for pressure delivery as well, in the event I must resort to it. Life is not fair but your do your best .
    Every opportunity on the forums I recommend having the tools and fire fighting skills but most people have no intention of fighting fire probably not having the courage to do so . But there are books and videos a plenty ,and tools are common as dirt , literally .
    Seems to me as bush crafters or survivalists, fire fighting should be a priority . but that's just me .
     
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  26. Ron

    Ron Guide

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    I agree basic firefighting or better still preventing skills are absolutely necessary. But when I see the footage..... there's no way private people could stop that.
    Right now an estimated total of 20000 hectares or 50000 acres has burnt up, but there are still fires raging, the main ones around us still not under control.
    I am awaiting deployment to one of the main ones.
     
  27. Paul Foreman

    Paul Foreman Supporter Supporter

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    mercy ...
     
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  28. blind & lost

    blind & lost Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Prayers for you and your family's safety, and for your country.
     
  29. Red Ochre

    Red Ochre Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    In more ways than one...

    Stay safe out there Ron.
     
  30. Beach Hiker

    Beach Hiker Traveller Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    @Ron
    Poland has sent 280 of its best firefighters to Sweden.
    They have already arrived and are on their way to the fires.
    They have also brought with them tons of needed equipment, including huge water cisterns and pumps.
    Let's hope they can help....
     
  31. Ron

    Ron Guide

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    And they are receiving a hero's welcome, wherever their convoy passes!!
    It is a impressive sight; 44 firetrucks of all sorts passing by in one single red column.

    My volunteering will probably not be needed. There are 1000's of volunteers from all over the country, flocking to help the affected areas. As well as firefighters from all over Europe. The Poles are here, Norwegians are about to arrive, French waterplanes, German and Austrian firefighter. They come in their dozens. It is touching to see this European solidarity!!
     
  32. Beach Hiker

    Beach Hiker Traveller Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    It's nice to see.
     
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