Norway: rare winter brush fire burns numerous structures

Norway fire
Photo by Ole Martin Dahle.

(Updated at 10:23 MST, January 30, 2014)

IR image Frøya Fire
Screen shot image from F-16 infrared video of firefighters at a fire near Frøya, Norway. In the video you can see firefighters dragging hoses, and appear to have to retreat as they are subjected to a shower of burning embers, which show up as white in the video.

Wildfire Today reader Bjørn Ivar Haugdal reports that the 3,000-acre fire in Norway we told you about earlier did not destroy as many structures as previously thought, and the number now stands at 55.

A new fire in Norway near Frøya has burned about 2,000 acres. Lighter winds have made it possible for civilian (Eurocopter AS350) and military (Bell 412SP) helicopters to assist firefighters. Water sources in lakes have to be opened with axes and chain saws, and water sprayed on vegetation quickly freezes in the -2C (28F) weather. There are reports that the fire started when children who were ice skating were playing with a lighter in the dry grass.

An F-16 fighter has been used as an aerial observation platform, streaming live video down to big screens at a command center on the ground. In a recording of the infrared video, at the 40-second mark you can see firefighters dragging hoses away from the head of the fire while they are being showered with hot embers, which show up as white in the video.

Below is a rough Google translation of a description of how military assets assisted firefighters:

Wednesday afternoon, two fire engines with eight soldiers from fire, rescue and room service (BRP) at Orland Main Air Base sent to the fire-ravaged Freya to participate in fire fighting. They were joined by a separate fire pump and a sekshjuling (ATV).

Defence Logistics Organisation sent a tank of fuel which ensures that the helicopters can easily access the fuel to get the most effective fighters. Four Bell 412 helicopters from Bardufoss and Rygge was sent to the fire area to assist in extinguishing efforts.

An air coordination element of defense contributes to coordinate air traffic in the area so the helicopter quenching capacity was utilized in the best possible way.

Coast guard vessels KV Bergen and KV Njord took part in extinguishing the work after the engagement in Flatanger was completed.

National Guard participates with 30 soldiers from the HV-12. In addition to Hitra and HV area are several nearby HV areas alerted and are ready to provide support if the need arises.

An F-16 fighters from Orland Main Air Station filmed fire and sent this live on big screens at the police control so the police and fire department received an overview of how the fire progressed.

A video clip taken from fighter plane Wednesday night shows how firefighters use fire pumps out on the ice in Langvatnet by Måsheia and smoke, sparks and burning objects flying over them.

The video below was shot from a drone over the earlier fire at Laerdalsoyri Village.


(Updated at 12:33 p.m. MST, January 28, 2014)

Wildfire Today reader Bjørn Ivar has given us some updated information, saying about 90 structures have burned. Strong winds are still making it impossible to use helicopters, but Civil Defense personnel are using chain saws to cut holes in the ice on lakes so that the freshwater sources can be used for dip sites for the helicopters with water buckets. Some degree of containment has been reached, Mr. Ivar said, and the fires are still within the peninsula.


(Originally published at 9:54 a.m. MST, January 28, 2014)

A rare January brush fire has burned scores of structures in the Norway villages of Hasvag and Smavaeret. Police believe the fire started Monday when strong winds blew two powerlines together.

The reports on the number of homes and other structures that have burned vary greatly. There could be as many as 95 that are damaged or destroyed.

Norway fire. Photo by Crews RS Harlald V.
Photo by Crews RS Harlald V.

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