Firefighters think careless campers started a fire that continued to rage out of control at Birkenes, just north of Kristiansand in Southern Norway on Friday. The firefighters were working day and night to gain control over the flames, and expected to spend most of the weekend trying to fully extinguish them.
“There’s a lot that indicates this fire was started by people,” a grim Jan Røilid, fire chief for the Kristiansand region, told state broadcaster NRK. He said that emergency crews battling the blaze found a burned-out tent and remains of a campfire in the area, despite the total ban on any fires or outdoor grilling in most parts of Southern Norway since this summer’s drought began.
Firefighters are now calling on ferry lines bringing foreign visitors to Norway to inform them of the ongoing drought and extremely high forest fire danger. Two ferry lines run between Kristiansand and the northern tip of Denmark, and it’s possible the errant campers were tourists who were unaware of the fire danger brought on by the drought.
Røilid said the fire at Birkenes was being fought by crews both on the ground and helicopters in the air, “but it’s challenging, because it keeps flaming up again in many areas. The fire was first spotted late Thursday but couldn’t be contained before it spread quickly.