Nine new forest fires were burning Tuesday morning in Setesdal, the long valley stretching from Kristiansand in the south up to the mountains in the north. The fires are in addition to the dozens already burning or brought under control in the midst of Norway’s severe drought.
“We’re putting a priority on four or five the areas burning now,” Torleif Homme of the Setesdal fire brigade, told state broadcaster NRK. “When we’re finished here we’ll just move on to the next.”
Record high temperatures and a lack of rain have resulted in Norway’s worst drought for more than 70 years. Lightning set off more than 100 fires around the country last week, but the little rain falling afterwards wasn’t nearly enough to ease the drought conditions.
The drought is also sparking fires all over Sweden, with Norway attempting to help by contributing helicopters to carry water and dump it on affected areas. Assistance was also being sent from as far away as Italy to relieve exhausted fire-fighting crews.