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Authorities forbid open fires, extremely dry throughout country

Conditions throughout Finland are very dry after weeks with little to no rain. The Finnish Meteorological Institute says a grass and forest fire alert is in effect for almost the entire country, with the exception of eastern Lapland and the region of Koillismaa.

A forest fire warning has been issued for most of the country.
The situation on May 26th.

Pirkanmaa Rescue Services has issued an official reminder that open fires are strictly prohibited in Finland this week, as a lack of rain has made conditions in many areas extremely dry.

The Finnish Meteorological Institute's Henri Nyman says that things have become so dry in the south and central parts of the country that the threat of grass fires is imminent. For this reason, the official grass fire warning has been upgraded to a forest fire warning.

There's still snow on the ground in western Lapland, but as the sun melts the last remnants of winter, the dry grass it reveals is highly susceptible to catching fire.

The largest fire risk is in the south, however, with areas in Central Finland and western Lapland close behind.

"If we look at the amount of rain we have received in May, there's been very little of it. In the south and central areas the amounts have been exceptionally rare," he said.

Light showers can't solve the problem

The span from Oulu to Northern Karelia has received a bit more rain, but Lapland has been remarkably dry this May.

Nyman says that some areas that are currently in danger will get some rain already Saturday, the Ostrobothnia area in particular.

"A rain front will meander through the centre of the country on Sunday. It could be that the south will get a little rainfall between Sunday and Monday too."

He says that even if the rain provides a little relief, most of the country will still be dangerously dry and the forest fire warning will likely continue.

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