Why we should all be paying attention to Sweden's forest fires

With the extreme heat across much of Europe this summer, Sweden has experienced its warmest July on record, along with devastating forest fires.

Catherine Edwards
Catherine Edwards NewsMavens, Sweden
Why we should all be paying attention to Sweden's forest fires - NewsMavens
Forest Fire, Pixabay

Why this story matters:

A huge amount of Sweden's woodland is on fire. Around 25,000 hectares are burning, surpassing the area affected by a deadly wildfire in 2014 which, at the time, was the most serious wildfire the country had seen in 40 years. Forests are not only a vital part of Swedish economy, with trees used for wood and timber products, pulp and biofuels, but also play a big role in most people's lives in terms of recreation.

Another reason these fires are worth paying attention to is that they look likely to become more frequent and more serious.

Climate change makes extreme weather increasingly likely, and the fact that the fires were preceded by months of unusual heat and drought has allowed them to spread quickly.

In the article below, designer, coach and visual explainer Per Axbom argues that Sweden's forest fires are everyone's business, and ponders how the country can better prepare for future extreme weather emergencies.

Details from the story:

  • The forest currently affected by fires has a value of 900 million Swedish kronor
  • Four of the fires are too big to be brought under control, leaving firefighters waiting for a change in the weather
  • Some of the fires are located north of the Arctic Circle
  • Sweden's Nordic and European neighbours have sent help in the form of firefighters and fire-fighting helicopters and water-bombers
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