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Denmark likely to ban Sankt Hans bonfires due to dry weather

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The Local ([email protected])
Denmark likely to ban Sankt Hans bonfires due to dry weather
Sankt Hans celebrations in 2015. The bonfires could be cancelled this year due to wildfire risk. Photo: Sophia Juliane Lydolph/Ritzau Scanpix

Denmark’s customary midsummer Sankt Hans celebrations are likely to be partially curtailed this year with bans on bonfires likely due to the risk of wildfire.

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Emergency services consider bonfires unlikely to be permitted on Sankt Hans, June 23rd, unless there is rainfall between now and then, broadcaster DR reports.

“Unfortunately we already have to state that, provided the weather leading up to Sankt Hans doesn’t offer up a certain amount of water, [bonfires] don’t look very likely,” the Danish Emergency Management Agency (Beredsskabstyrelsen, DEMA), said in a press statement.

That is because “the overall risk level with many small fires simultaneously across the country, in towns and all types of nature” would be too high in relation to wildfire risk, the agency said.

DEMA is scheduled to hold a national meeting on June 19th, where a final decision will be made on this year’s Sankt Hans bonfires.

READ ALSO: Why does Denmark celebrate Sankt Hans Aften?

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“We are following the situation closely in all fire service districts and conditions will be taken into account day by day and hour by hour,” the statement read.

Weather forecasts currently do not suggest rain is likely to be forthcoming.

Last month was the driest May in Denmark for 15 years, and meteorologists are not predicting any rain in the coming days.

Much of the Nordics are in the midst of an unusually spring dry spell, raising concerns about forest fires, particularly in Sweden.

Sankt Hans Aften, when people sing in chorus before lighting a giant bonfire and eating and drinking late into the light summer night, is normally one of the highlights of the Danish calendar.

In addition to bonfires, Danes gather to sing in chorus on June 23rd, with Midsommervisen (“Midsummer’s Song”), also called Vi elsker vort land (“We Love our Country”) the traditional song for the occasion.

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