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WEATHER

What are the rules for fires and BBQs in Norway?

The Norwegian public have been asked by the authorities to consider holding off on lighting campfires or disposal grills due to the risk of forest fires. Here are the key rules you need to know about lighting fires and BBQs in Norway.

Pictured is a campfire in the Arctic Circle.
Here is the key rules you need to know about lighting fires in Norway. Pictured is a campfire in the Arctic Circle. Photo by Peter Schulz on Unsplash

Norway’s Justice Minister has asked residents to think twice about lighting a fire or cooking on a disposable grill due to the risk of forest fires. 

“The smell of bonfires and sausages grilling are some of the best I know. But we have to do without it for a while. So it is better to bring a sausage in a thermos or have a sandwich,” Justice Minister Emilie Enger Mehl told newswire NTB on Thursday. 

The minister’s comments come following several large forest fires in May and dry weather, meaning blazes are easily ignited and spread. More than 400 fires were registered across the country in April

Oslo’s fire service has also said that people should consider leaving the engangsgrill, or disposable BBQ, at home when planning a trip to the capital’s nature spots. So, what are the official rules? 

Due to the risk of forest fires, campfires are generally prohibited from April 15th until September 15th in wooded areas and forests

However, even though there is a general campfire ban in place, people are still allowed to light fires and use disposable grills in areas where a fire is unlikely, such as near snow or water, at an approved campsite, or if they are well acquainted with local conditions and rules. Oslo’s parks are also exempt from the general ban. The fire must also be at a safe distance from buildings and vegetation. 

READ MORE: What are the rules and culture of camping in Norway?

BBQs in somebody’s back garden are also fine, as the lawn is considered cultivated land. People are also allowed to burn organic garden waste but may need to notify or seek permission from their local authority first. 

 

In times of extreme drought, local authorities can impose a total fire ban. When a total ban is in place, all open fires outdoors, with the general exception for BBQs in one’s own garden, are prohibited. 

Other helpful tips 

  • You can check the risk of forest fires spreading where you by using yr.no
  • Fires caused by people putting disposable grills in regular bins when finished are common in Norway. However, most parks and green spaces will have designated bins typically marked “engangsgrill”, which are fire safe. 
  • If the fire does get out of control, the number for Norway’s fire service is 110.
  • The person who lights the fire is the one who is responsible for ensuring it doesn’t spread and is properly extinguished.

Vocabulary 

Generalle bålforbud

(General fire ban) 

Totalt bålforbud

(Total fire ban) 

Brannvesenet

(The fire service) 

Skogbrann

(Forest fire)

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WEATHER

Norway to revamp alert system to ensure tourists are aware of dangerous weather

Not enough tourists are notified of potentially treacherous conditions or dangerous weather, and a new system is being worked on, the Directorate for Social Security and Preparedness has said. 

Norway to revamp alert system to ensure tourists are aware of dangerous weather

A lot of dangerous weather warnings fail to reach the tourists who come to Norway in their droves for activity holidays or to take in the stunning scenery, according to the Directorate for Social Security and Preparedness (DSB). 

The Norwegian Meteorological Institute uses three colours for its weather warnings. The first is yellow, which means challenging weather. Then there is orange, meaning a serious situation. And finally, there is the red warning, which warns of extreme weather. 

However, in the event of a yellow warning, there is a limit to how municipalities can contact people in the area. 

“It is largely based on people having to follow along (with the situation) themselves,” the emergency manager at Vestland County, Håvard Stensvand, told public broadcaster NRK.

This means it is up to tourists and visitors to keep themselves informed of adverse weather situations, as they may only be forewarned of the most extreme conditions. 

“With the current arrangements, our experience so far indicates that it is unfortunately not possible to reach everyone with this type of information,” the acting director of the DSB told NRK. 

By the end of the year, the directorate hopes to implement a new system using different technology that will send all phones connected to the nearby mobile network a message warning of the weather. 

Some local authorities had raised concerns that the current system meant that alerts were only sent to the phone registered to residents in the area

The new system should then ensure those visiting the area will also be warned about potentially dangerous conditions. 

Where to check for weather warnings

The most popular service for checking the weather in Norway is “Yr” The service is run by the Meteorological Institute and NRK. 

You can either head to the website or download the app on IOS or Android to use the service. 

You will receive warnings of adverse weather conditions there. On the website, you can check specifically to see whether there are any weather warnings across Norway. You can also get an overview of weather warnings and report any adverse conditions yourself on varsom.no

If you are in area with a lot of tourism, it is worth also checking with the local tourist office, due to their specialised knowledge of the local area. 

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