Danish firefighters to help fight Swedish forest blazes

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Danish firefighters to help fight Swedish forest blazes
An aerial view of the wildfire outside Ljusdal on July 18th. Photo: TT NEWS AGENCY/Ritzau Scanpix

27 Danish firefighters with fire engines and equipment have been sent to Sweden to help emergency services to cope with ferocious forest fires that have raged this week.


The Danish responders will take part in firefighting in Ljusdal, in the county of Gävleborg north of Stockholm.

The task awaiting the Danish firemen is somewhat different from the type of work they are used to, said Martin Vendelbo, section leader with the Danish Fire Service (Beredskabsstyrelsen), who will lead the unit in Sweden.

“This is not an everyday job. It is a major operation. There are many things involved. Some of the challenges may be related to the wind or weather. Weather and wind can change quickly, and it can take time to adapt the operation,” Vendelbo said.

“We must also adapt to a system in which we don’t usually we work. It’s my job to tie us in with the Swedish authorities,” the fire chief added.

The Danish firefighters will stay in Sweden for an initial three days after an agreement over their assistance was reached on Wednesday.

Their exact duties in Gävleborg are not yet known, since the nature of the operations are subject to change, Vendelbo said.

“We could either go in and relieve our Swedish colleagues or we can support their operations. Some of them have said they are pretty worn out,” he said.

The Danish firefighters come from units in the towns of Hedehusene, near Roskilde, and Herning in central Jutland as well as from other municipal departments.

Equipment will be supplied primarily by the Beredskabsstyrelsen technical college in Tinglev.

Forest fires were raging in 40 different places in Sweden on Wednesday, and the Scandinavian country requested assistance via the EU earlier this week.

Italy and Norway are also assisting the Swedes in the large-scale firefighting effort.

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