A brush fire has burned two square kilometres of Heiðmörk forest in the Reykjavík capital area, RÚV reports. The fire broke out between three and four yesterday afternoon and took firefighters nearly twelve hours to put out. The fire was difficult for fire crews to access as it was far from roads.
Sævar Hreiðarsson, a forest warden in Heiðmörk, stated that wardens had been through the area just before the fire broke out. “It’s just sad that our staff didn’t see this. They were there just half an hour, an hour before this happened,” he stated.
The planting of Heiðmörk began in the early 1950s and the forest celebrated its 70th anniversary last year. The area where the fire took place was planted around 20 years ago. Heiðmörk is a popular recreational area for residents of the capital area. “And unfortunately some are using disposable barbecues or are smoking and not being careful,” Sævar told reporters. “Now everything is very dry and ignites easily, there’s a lot of food for the fire now.”
The area has been monitored specifically due to the risk of forest fire in recent years. “But it’s such a big area and it’s difficult for us to monitor, and this happens very suddenly. We have managed to stop fires like this as they break out. The fire crews managed to help us with something two years ago. There were small fires then but thankfully not like this just now.”