The summer of 2018 will go down in history as the year when nature burned. The fire damage will remain for hundreds of years to come. Today I give you tips on what to think about when you venture out into fire damaged forests.

The journey of the world has an impact on the nature area you are moving in. Forest fires can spread at speeds of between 20 – 50 metres per minute and under the ground where conditions allow, the fire smoulder for months if the work to extinguish them fails. Moving in forests ravaged by the fire, hardly leaves any of us untouched.

Suggested Reading : Fire guard (Natur & Kultur) A book about the fire in Västmanland in 2015 that burned down an area of forest three times the size of Stockholm, forcing thousands of people to flee and costing over one billion krona. The book finds out how economic cuts and global climate change affected the fire.

3 Things to Consider When Visiting a Fire-burned Forest

1. Respect. First and foremost, you must of course respect any restrictions that authorities set up in areas where it is directly dangerous to visit. But even when the area is open, it is important to think about being careful. Do you have to walk through the woods? Can you observe in the distance, from a viewing tower or other high-lying location?

2. Vigilance. The nature of the fire burnt areas are usually changed. Tree trunks can be littered all over the place, making it very difficult to get through the forest. Trees standing up can plummet to the ground. Often, the roots are burned and the trees can be destabilised. Beware of stumbling on roots, falling trees and physically demanding climbing over fallen trunks and branches.

3. Silence. The forest is naked to just the bone. Perhaps the stones lack all of the usual overlying moss and you can see a mosaic of bright stones on the ground that were previously embedded in blueberry, ferns and other ground vegetation. Perhaps you also notice the unusual silence. The birds do not sing. Perhaps you will hear squeaks of the fire-ravaged tree trunks moving in the wind.

Read more about the forest’s recovery: After the fire (Naturskyddsföreningen)

One year after the fire in Västmanland

I visited the fire burned area in northern Västmanland one year after the fire. One whole day I wandered around in what once was a leafy, moss-covered area of forest and saw what was left just now. Fallen trees. Black structures. Enormous forces that destructively destroyed everything in their path. But there was also something beautiful in the contrasts of the new plants that a couple of years later beginning to grow. The tall willow-herb and light green plant stalks between bare, moss-free stones.

It is quite inconceivable to me that this is the reality over many parts of Sweden after the many fires this summer.

So many memories. All that is known is changed forever. Change is a part of life and perhaps it is when the naked white stones look at us along with the black, sooty trunks that we really understand the value of what we had. Not taking it for granted.

Read more on the theme of fire and crisis:

Are you directly affected by the fire? Are your hiking trails changed? Have you visited any fire area? Please tell us more about your experiences in the comment field so we can share the experience with each other.

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