Every year 3000 - 4000 wildfires occur in Sweden, on average. The magnitude of the fires varies from year to year, but often more than 2 000 hectares of land is affected. The financial impacts are large in terms of emergency response and damage to forests and buildings.
Wildfires are caused by lightning and various human activities, such as campfires, children playing, grass burning or sparks from trains and machines. Densely populated urban areas, where many people spend time outdoors, and also the eastern drier parts of the country have the highest number of fires.
It is not just drought and wind conditions that determine the size of the fire, but also how quickly the fire is discovered and the availability of firefighting resources. Consequently large forest areas in the sparsely populated parts of the north, and along the coast in northern Sweden as well as inland, often suffer large fires.
In the future, water availability may change and climate scenarios indicate a decrease in large parts of southern Sweden. The reduced water supply is mainly due to an increased consumption from vegetation in a warmer climate with longer growing seasons. Higher temperatures also lead to greater evaporation from soil and waterways. Many wildfires occur as a result of prolonged drought.