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Due to the drought 61 municipalities have issued a general burning ban

As Denmark witnesses its driest May in 130 years, the arising serious drought situation has led 61 municipalities to issue a general burning ban to prevent serious wildfire situations.Violations of the ban will be fined.

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By Bente D. Knudsen

The unusually warm month of May was a great delight for citizens in Denmark, who could frolic in the sunshine, enjoying the weather to its fullest; however, unfortunately, the lack of rain is the cause of the most serious drought in 10 years.

This is a big problem for plants and farmers all over the country.

According to DMI, the drought index – tørkeindexet – it is at its highest level of 10. Drought is a natural phenomenon defined as sustained and extensive occurrence of below average water availability.

The lack of rainfall during May and the abundance of sunshine means that most of Denmark is now declared being almost entirely affected by water scarcity and Denmark’s farmers fear huge drought losses as they watch their crops wither in the fields.

Total losses are estimated as high as EURO 1 billion.

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DMI’s climate specialist Mikael Scharling says that, “We are now at the maximum level of 10 in many locations around the country. 10 means that there is no water left in the earth water depots from where the crops and plants draw humidity.”

The worst affected areas are amongst other Bornholm, Copenhagen, Amager, parts of West Zealand, parts of Djursland, Samsø, Anholt, central and southern parts of Jutland and some areas of North Jutland.

“The main problem is that the drought situation has come so early. The crop has not yet grown sufficiently and therefore the plants only have limited roots, making them extra vulnerable when the drought hits so hard,“ he explains in DMI’s press release.

The weather prognosis for the coming weeks does not leave much hope of an improvement, as according to DMI, the amount of rain in the forecast is not enough to alleviate the problem.

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Due to the drought situation a range of burning bans have been issued by the Danish municipalities.

It is the Danish Emergency Management Board, Beredskabsstyrelsen, who monitor the situation and advise the individual municipalities and fire departments about the situation in their areas.

The burning ban, in Danish afbrændningsforbud, means that you are not allowed to make open fires in the nature, including the prohibition of doing so even at the camping facilities or shelters you may be visiting.

If your municipality has imposed a general burning ban it means that you are not allowed to make an open fire, to burn your garden debris and may also mean that you cannot use a weed burner or smoke cigarettes in the nature.

It may also mean that you can only use a grill or barbecue equipment in your garden if you can place it on stone or tiles (non-burnable material).

For instance, the fire department of Frederiksborg Brand & Redning has issued a burning ban covering the municipalities of Egedal, Frederikssund, Furesø, Gribskov, Halsnæs and Hillerød.

The ban is issued on the 5 June 2018 and is valid until further notice. The ban means that in the affected municipalities open fires are not allowed, weed burners are not allowed nor the use of a barbecue in the nature. The ban does not include barbecue equipment in private gardens as long as it is placed on tiles or stone (non-burnable material).”

You can check if your municipality has a burning ban on the municipal website or following this link.

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General advice in drought situations:

  • Do not throw matches, cigarettes etc. in nature (or out of your car window!)
  • Do not park your car in high grass as the motor may ignite the grass
  • If you are using barbecue equipment in your garden make sure to have water close by (in a bucket or your garden hose)
  • Take note that sparks spread easily when you pour your coal from the grill starter onto the barbecue
  • Do not leave your barbecue until it is completely extinguished
  • Place your barbecue equipment on non-burnable material
  • Keep an eye on the wind as sparks fly easily

Map of where there is a burning ban. Picture: Beredskabsstyrelsen