Gaining control of forest fire in Sokndal
Firefighters begin to gain control of the large forest fire in Sokndal in southern Rogaland. About 7,500 acres have been on fire. Many crews are participating in the extinguishing work.
“There are few flames and less smoke in the area where the fire has been the worst,” Councillor Karl Johan Engelhart Olsen tells Stavanger Aftenblad at 9.15 am on Wednesday.
“It can flare up again because of the wind, but we have pretty good control now,” Olsen continues.
150 firefighters, Norwegian Civil Defence forces and volunteers participate in the extinguishing, in addition to six helicopters.
“It makes us better prepared today than we were yesterday,” the councillor concludes.
It has so far been burning on around 7,500 acres of forest.
23 helicopters at disposal
“It’s a demanding fire, and the worst is the wind,” Fire and Rescue Manager of Rogaland Fire and Rescue, Nils-Erik Haagenrud, tells NRK.
He says they start to get an overview of the fire but fears the wind.
The Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning (DSB) had an internal coordination meeting on Wednesday morning to activate further helicopter support for the areas on fire. In addition to in Sokndal, a large fire rages in Lyngdal in Vest-Agder.
Director of DSB, Cecilie Daae, describes the situation as serious in both places.
“Up to 23 helicopters can be engaged if needed,” Daae informs NRK.
Evaluates the situation
“148 residential units have been evacuated,” Operations Manager in Southwest Police District, Toralv Skårland, informed at 8.40 am. He described the situation as critical.
It is expected winds from the east ranging between nine and eleven meters per second on Wednesday.
“The whole night has been used to moisten areas so that the fire will spread as little as possible,” Skårland explains.
At noon, the emergency services will meet the municipality and reevaluate the situation. A decision will then be made as to whether the evacuation of residents in Sokndal will continue.
The Sokndal School for Children and Lower Secondary Level is closed on Wednesday. The reason is the smoke that lies above the centre of Sokndal. The school has just over 450 pupils.
The fire has spread to the Jøssing Fjord, where, among other things, a boathouse has burned to the ground. The police fear that the fire may spread to Knubedal and further towards Sogndalstrand. Here it is feared that the flames will reach the protected heritage buildings in the area.
The fire department considers evacuation of the entire hamlet of Sogndalstrand, according to Stavanger Aftenblad.
220 evacuees checked in
Five crews of the Red Cross Rescue Corps from Sandnes to Egersund have assisted in the extensive evacuation work. In addition, Norwegian People’s Aid assists with personnel. Local farmers have also contributed their own manure spreaders.
“About 220 evacuees checked in at the Sokndal Sports Centre, but about half of them checked out again after finding accommodation elsewhere,” Olsen informs.
“All approach roads to the fire area are closed,” the police states. County Road 1 is closed towards County Road 44, Blåfallsveien and Knudehagen. In addition, County Road 35 is closed at Strandgaten, County Road 33 is closed at the bridge direction Hanaberg. County Road 44 was closed between Åna-Sira and Sokndal centre but is reopened.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today