Grass Fires In Northwest

9.8.2012
Words by Paul Fontaine
A series of grass fires in northwest Iceland has many locals worried, although for now the flames seem to be mostly under control.

Grass fires are not unusual in the summertime in Iceland - long periods of sunlight combined with long, dry grass that grows over much of the rural area can lead to conflagrations. This year, however, which has seen one of the driest summers in a long while, the fires have been particularly voracious.

Morgunblaðið reports that 25 people, covering some five hectares of Laugardal, near Ísafjörður, were dispatched to try and subdue the flames. A combination of dry weather and steady winds made the flames difficult to control.

The spread of the flames reached the point that a state of emergency for the area was declared. Fortunately, RÚV now reports that the flames have been more or less put under control. There is still a great deal of glowing ash and embers, though, so firefighters are remaining on watch over the area to prevent any further flare-ups.

Many smaller communities in the area, which do not have firefighting teams large enough to confront the fire alone, received help from larger towns, Vísir reports. Súðavík, for example, received manpower from Ísafjörður and Bolungarvík.

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