Krýsuvík, close to the wildfire. Photo by Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir.
Head of the Department Ásmundur Jónsson said that both times they had asked for a specially equipped helicopter to quench the fires but the request was denied.
The wildfire occurred in the same place as Friday,” Jónsson said. The area is 420 meters above sea level, up in the mountain. The road leading there is treacherous and firemen have to walk through lava and thick moss, sometimes reaching their knees. A rescue squad transported equipment and supplies to the fire fighters.
The firemen experimented with additives in the water, intended to increase its effectiveness. The experiment went well, Jónsson said.
“I have been trying to get the helicopter twice and have been denied both times. They said that since no property was under risk in the moss fire in the heath east of Kleifarvatn Lake and no summer houses were in jeopardy, there was no need for it. However, many centuries’ old vegetation was being destroyed.”
Jónsson said that a source of water was only three kilometers away from the area. Being a difficult path to travel by foot, it would have been so easy for the helicopter. “It would have taken care of the fire in an hour or so,” he explained. “The conditions there are tremendous.”