The weather has been very dry in south-west Finland over the past couple of weeks, and the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) has been issuing brush fire warnings across an expanding area of the country.
The affected region is expected to grow on Tuesday and Wednesday, when brush fire warnings will likely be in effect across all of Finland, with the exception of Lapland, according to warning maps published by the FMI.
The anticipated arrival of a precipitation system in the middle of the week may reduce fire risks across much of the country by Friday, however.
Between three to five brush fires have spread across south-western Finland over the past several days, according to local fire officials.
Brush fires sparked in south-west
The largest blaze in south-west Finland broke out on Saturday afternoon in the municipality of Mynämäki. It was sparked by a property owner who started the fire intentionally, carrying out a so-called controlled burn, fire chief Olli Suominen said.
“The owner lost control and a whole hectare burned. We just barely managed to stop the fire from spreading at the edge of the forest,” Suominen said, emphasising that conditions are extremely dry.
“There were too many brush fires this weekend. People are burning trash and brush despite the warnings,” he said.
“One needs to be incredibly careful with fire right now. You shouldn’t have open fires anywhere now, not even in barrels,” he said.
All of the brush fires that required help from rescue services were caused by people who had ignored warnings, Suominen said.
Related stories from around the North:
Finland: Cold, wet weather forecast for Northern Finland on May Day, Yle News
Norway: Arctic Norway: temperatures on Svalbard have been above normal for 100 straight months, The Independent Barents Observer
Sweden: Small fires break out due to dry conditions, Radio Sweden