Forest fire in Värmland County, Sweden 2018
31 May 2018

Fireman died in a Swedish wildfire after scorching hot month of May

Forest Fires
Communication Group
Current Affairs in Fire & Rescue
Fire & Rescue World News
Line of Duty Deaths

A firefighter fell to his death from a cliff while fighting a forest fire in southwestern Sweden, night to  Thursday, local time. "It's incredibly tragic. There is a great cloud of grief hovering over our station and we are all very sad about this loss", says Magnus Lundqvist, rescue chief in the local area of Munkfors, to Swedish Television´s news network.

 

Posted by Bjorn Ulfsson / CTIF Information Coordinator

The month of May has been an unusually hot month for the season in Sweden,  with several weeks of temperatures approaching 30 degrees Celsius. With very little rain during the same period, Swedish forests have once again become vulnerable to forest fires.

The first wildfire of the season struck the county of Värmland this past week, and affected the forests northeast of the regional capital of Karlstad. Hundreds of firefighters have been fighting the wildfire, which was allegedly started by sparks from the faulty break system of a freight train.

 

Map of Munkfors area

 

Only days later, the fire brigade just north of there, in the Ransäter-Munkfors region, got called out to another wildfire. The call came in at 22:00 at night, so the teams had to fight the fire in the dark. (as mid summer´s famed northern "White Nights" are not yet present for another month or so.)

 

Had to start the operations in the dark
"Less than half hour to midnight we received a call from the fire grounds with a message about an accident where a fireman from Munkfors had been found lifeless below a mountain cliff, says Magnus Lundqvist, rescue chief on duty in Munkfors.

The firefighter was found in the terrain just before midnight. The colleagues started CPR (heart massage) and continued until the ambulance helicopter arrived and healthcare staff took over. All
resuscitation attempts were unfortunately unsuccessful, and the fireman died on site.

"Our thoughts go to the relatives. We now provide resources to support the firefighter's family and our staff in this tragic event, "said Nils Weslien, County Manager and Rescue Chief,  in a press release.

The police will begin an investigation about the wildfire, which is thought to have been started intentionally.

"Extremely tragic"
The fire service held a press conference on Thursday morning.
Fire chief and county manager Nils Weslien:

"It's not a nice feeling to be a fire officer here and have to hold this press conference today. It's a tragic accident that happened to one of our firefighters. Now we are working to support both relatives and our staff in Sunne and Munkfors.

"We will meet the affected staff in the afternoon and talk about what has happened," says Björn Johansson, Karlstad Rescue Service.

Nobody knows exactly how the accident happened, because nobody saw when the firefighter fell down from the cliff.

The perished firefighter was born in 1972 and has worked as a part-time (volunteer) fireman in the area for five years.

 

Photo Credit: The photograph (above) is of the early stages of the recent wildfires in Sweden. It was taken by a member of the community and shared with news media in the area.

Map of Europe