From Iceland — Brush Fire In Heiðmörk

Brush Fire In Heiðmörk

Published May 5, 2021

Alina Maurer
Photo by
Vísir/Ragnar Axelsson

Yesterday afternoon around 5 o’clock, a brush fire broke out in Heiðmörk.

Heiðmörk is a nature reserve and recreational area, approximately 20 kilometers from downtown Reykjavík. The fire brigade in the capital sent firefighters to the scene but the location of the fire made it difficult to get under control. The Coast Guard’s assistance was requested and a helicopter came to battle the fire from above. Water was lifted from nearby lakes and released into the fire from the air. Firefighters hoped this method could be used to extinguish the fire as soon as possible. However, this did not happen and the fire became large and widespread.

60 people and even drones fighting the fire

At its peak, about 60 people from the fire brigade, rescue workers and police were fighting the battle against the brush fire. Even drones assisted with thermal images, in order to determine the situation during the night.
According to Vísir, the fire brigade managed to put out the brush fires last night and their mission has been completed.

The last firefighters left the area around 4 o’clock in the night. The warden of the fire brigade in the capital area mentioned that the wind decreased at midnight, which helped to extinguish the fire. What is clear is that 2 km² of the total 30 km² of Heiðmörk are burnt, including a lot of vegetation, such as moss and birch trees.

The destruction of nature

Jónatan Garðarsson, chairman of the Icelandic Forestry Association, told RÚV in an interview, “Naturally, this is just scary, but unfortunately this is something we have expected because it has been so dry this winter, especially this spring and all of the vegetation is very dry”.

He advises people to be careful and never throw away objects that can start a fire, whether it is a glass bottle or “just” a cigarette. “It’s just a matter of being careful and when something like this comes up, you have to act immediately,” he adds. What is left to do now is wait and see how the vegetation will regrow and then decide what needs to be done to restore the destroyed area.

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