Subterranean wildfire rages in Denmark

A serious wildfire has broken out near Aalborg, presenting a significant challenge to firefighters in the area.

Subterranean wildfire rages in Denmark
Photo: Rasmus Skaftved/Ritzau Scanpix

The fire, which started on Wednesday near Dokkedal southeast of the northern city, was extinguished above ground by Thursday morning but is ongoing underground, Ritzau reports.

“The earth here is a bog, so there is a lot of peat under the topsoil. It is burning a long way down,” fire chief Lars Bjørndal of the Nordjyllands Beredskab fire service said.

Underground fire creates a risk of new fires breaking out above ground, Bjørndal said.

“The area out here is surrounded by some quite deep two-metre ditches. They are normally filled with water, but there is not so much at the moment,” he said.

“Our concern is the extent to which the fire can work its way under the ditches and start fires up in new areas,” the fire chief continued.

The fire began at 2:30pm on Wednesday and has burned an area of around 50 hectares above ground, but it is unclear how extensive the underground situation is.

Bjørndal said challenges faced by responders including securing water supplies to the area and finding vehicles that were able to move on the boggy terrain.

“We have some tractors that can break the earth so we can get water down to where it will work. We also have tractors with fertiliser spreaders that can be driven anywhere in the area,” he said.

Around 40 firefighters were working in the area on Thursday morning while up to 70 were present at the scene during the night, Bjørndal said to Ritzau.

No evacuations in the area were necessary, he added.

READ ALSO: Danish fire service working overtime to put out flames caused by dry weather


How much will it snow in Denmark this weekend?

Winter weather arrived in spectacular fashion to coincide with the beginning of December this week. The weekend could bring more snow to parts of the country but probably less disruption than recent days.

Parts of Denmark have seen heavy snow in early December.
Parts of Denmark have seen heavy snow in early December. Photo: Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix

Recent snowstorms disrupted North Jutland in particular and Denmark in general, and more cold weather can be expected this weekend albeit severe, according to forecasts.

“We won’t see the Ragnarok-like weather we’ve seen in some places recently again this weekend, but it’s now winter weather and it has also snowed in several places overnight,” said meteorologist Frank Nielsen of the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI).

READ ALSO: IN PICTURES: Early December blizzards disrupt Denmark

Cold weather on Friday and a low front across the North Sea will bring clouds and precipitation across Denmark from the west, Nielsen said.

That will materialise as cold rain or sleet in many areas but probably snow in North Jutland, he said.

“There could be between five and ten centimetres of snow north of the Limfjord,” the meteorologist said, referring to the waterway that cuts across the northern part of Jutland, including main regional city Aalborg.

“In the southern part of the country, an equivalent five to ten centimetres of rain could fall,” he added.

Friday’s temperature will be between freezing point and five degrees Celsius, with the north of the country falling in to the lower end of that range and the south the warmer end.

Mist and fog is forecast this evening, caused by various weather fronts moving over Denmark.

That could still be felt on Saturday morning, though it is likely to be a little warmer at 2-6 degrees Celsius. Mild winds could make that fell chiller, but snow is unlikely.

Sunday will see the temperature drop again, to 0-4 degrees Celsisu. Snow is possible, particularly on eastern coasts.

Strong winds in the east of the country and along the coasts will result in a “rather cold 24 hours,” Nielsen said.

Nighttime temperatures are expected to drop below zero throughout the weekend. Motorists are therefore warned to be alert to icy road surfaces.