Emergency crews worked through the night to battle forest- and brush fires in both Rogaland and Vest-Agder in southwestern Norway. Firefighters believed they had “better control” by late morning on Wednesday but feared strong winds could spread smoldering embers.
Nearly 150 households in Sokndal and 10 in Lyndgal remained under evacuation orders. “This is a demanding fire and the worst thing is the wind,” Nils-Erik Haagenrud, fire chief in Rogaland, told state broadcaster NRK.
After weeks of dry weather and unusually warm temperatures, the weather forecast called for some light rain Wednesday evening, but it wasn’t expected to be enough to douse the widespread fires in two counties.
Of special concern were historic communities of wooden houses, not least those at Sogndalstrand on the coast between Egersund and Mandal. Officials thought they’d be spared, but were on full alert. A fireboat sent from Egersund sprayed water on several of the waterfront buildings from the 1700- and 1800s to help protect them.
The fires around Sokndal were first reported Tuesday afternoon, when two women had to be rescued by helicopter out after suddenly finding themselves hemmed in by fires on all sides. At least one cabin and a boathouse were consumed by flames during the night.