Minister Mykkänen wants to thank all rescue workers:
Finland has coped well with fighting forest fires

Ministry of the Interior 15.8.2018 9.35 | Published in English on 16.8.2018 at 16.00
Press release 91/2018

This year’s record-breaking dry and hot summer has meant that Finland has been exceptionally prone to forest fires. The number of forest fires has been considerably higher than before, and fires have been more extensive than in an average year. There have been large forest fires in Southwest Finland, Lapland and Ostrobothnia. We have, however, managed them well. Minister of the Interior Kai Mykkänen wishes to thank all Finnish rescue workers for a job well done.

"Considerable efforts have been required from rescue departments across the country. Voluntary contract fire brigades have also played a significant role in managing the situation. I would like to thank all those who have taken part in extinguishing forest fires in both Finland and Sweden," said Minister Mykkänen during his visit to the central fire station in Turku on 15 August.

Despite its own wildfires, Finland was able to send a rescue team to Sweden at the end of July to assist the country in extinguishing forest fires. The team — consisting of firefighters from three different rescue departments with their equipment — completed their two-week assignment successfully. Finnish firefighters had a lot of expertise, for example in extinguishing fires in challenging terrain.

Preparedness for wildfires is being continuously improved

Although Finland has managed to keep forest fires under control so far, we cannot be lulled into feeling too safe. We must have constant preparedness to respond to wildfires and continue to improve our actions, for example by learning from this summer’s fires.

"Last week I visited the area affected by fires in Pyhäranta. There I met and discussed with firefighters who were in charge of extinguishing forest fires in the area covering nearly 100 hectares. Cooperation between local rescue services, neighbouring regions and authorities was smooth and effective. In future, however, it may be necessary to specify the coordination of allocating critical national resources, such as aircraft, so that we could do our very best in situations where several major fires break out at the same time," said Mykkänen.

According to forecasts, climate change will increase the need to prepare for different kinds of natural disasters, with forest fires, storms and floods being the most common of these disasters.

Inquiries

Rami Ruuska, Senior Officer for Rescue Services, tel. +358 50 456 0009, [email protected]
Titta Andersson-Bohren, Special Adviser, tel. +358 50 513 1539 (requests for interview with Minister Mykkänen)