Denmark’s Sankt Hans bonfires face cancellation due to dry weather

Denmark’s Sankt Hans bonfires face cancellation due to dry weather
A Sankt Hans bonfire ready to be lit at Bredetved near Holbæk. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix
Bans on open fires in several Danish municipalities have been lifted after recent showers, but remain in place in many other areas.

Ten municipalities in Jutland and one on the island of Funen lifted bans on Monday and Tuesday, Ritzau reports.

The news comes as relief for many Danes hoping to celebrate Sankt Hans Night, the bonfire tradition that marks the shortest night of the year.

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But partial or complete bans on fires are still in place in 59 other municipalities across the country.

Denmark has seen unusually hot and dry weather over recent weeks, stretching well back into May, which broke a number of records due to its many warm and sunny days.

Despite restrictions being lifted in some areas, caution will still be required as bonfires are lit on Saturday night, said the head of Denmark’s Fire Service.

“Even if you are not in an area with a ban, it is necessary to display great caution,” Bjarne Nigaard told Ritzau.

“You must take account of the wind, weather and surroundings. If there is the smallest risk of embers from the fire floating with the wind towards the nearest vegetation, you should refrain from lighting the fire,” Nigaard said.

The Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) notes that several parts of the country, particularly on the islands of Zealand and Bornholm, remain dry.

Weather forecasts between now and Saturday will be closely watch be local authorities, Nigaard said.

“If we run into a weather situation where it looks like a lot of rain in coming days, the situation may change in some of the municipalities that still have bans in place,” he said.

“We are keeping our eye on the situation hour to hour. We have no interest in maintaining a [ban] if it can be lifted,” he said.

DMI’s forecast for the coming weekend predicts a mixture of showers, rain and sun.

The bonfire ban also means that the traditional bonfire at the Prime Minister’s official residence at Marienborg has been cancelled, the Primie Minister’s Office has confirmed.

The municipalities that have lifted their open fire bans are, at the time of writing: Billund, Esbjerg, Fanø, Fredericia, Kolding, Middelfart, Varde, Vejen, Vejle, Viborg and Silkeborg.

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