Photo: Mora Fire Service
23 Jul 2018

Live ammunition stopped the helicopters - firefighters trapped in the forest fire

The fire by the shooting range in Älvdalen, Sweden, suddenly began to spread uncontrollably. Several firefighters on Sunday evening ended up behind the fire front and were rescued by helicopter only moments before the raging wildfire would have consumed them.

Photo: Mora Fire Service

The forest fire at the shooting range in the village of Trängslet in Älvdalen municipality in Dalarna has been raging for eleven days and the extinguishing efforts have been lined with many dramatic incidents.

On Thursday, the fire service was forced to stop water bombing in the area as the helicopters were at risk being hit by exploding ammunition stored at the shooting range, which had become involved in the fire.

This weekend, command & control decided to start a controlled  800 hectares prescribed, controlled fire - the largest ever in Sweden. The purpose is to create a limit line so that the fire can not pass through and spread any further.

A few hours later, at 17.30, the fire started to spread unexpectedly fast in the southeastern part of the fire area. The fire spread rapidly from tree top to tree top and firemen on the ground had to retreat.

"It has been a terribly whimsical fire, it went from perfectly calm to a heavy fire in the course of only five minutes," says fire officer Johan Szczymanki on Twitter.