Press release 19.4.2024

The wildfire season has begun: Wildfire warnings replace grass fire and forest fire warnings

The wildfire warning warns of dry and flammable terrain. When a wildfire warning is in force, it is forbidden to light an open fire.
Photo: Tuomo Bergman.

Although the weather is currently cold for this time of year, there are already warnings for wildfires on the Finnish Meteorological Institute's warning map for Ostrobothnia for the weekend.

Starting from this spring, the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) will no longer issue separate grass and forest fire warnings, but they will be replaced by a wildfire warning. The new term is defined in the revised Rescue Act, which entered into force at the beginning of 2024.

"The warnings aim to reduce wildfires in situations where the risk of a wildfire is evident, due to the drought of the terrain and weather conditions," says Account Manager Tuomo Bergman from the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

Wildfire warnings are day-specific and can be issued up to five days in advance. The warning for the day is always given at midnight, but warnings can also be removed at other times, if the weather permits.

Warnings are published on the FMI website's warnings map and on the local weather page. In the warnings map, a sign familiar from grass fires is used as the wildfire sign.

Wildfire warnings have three different levels, yellow, orange and red. The probability of large and rapidly propagating wildfires increases with orange and red level warnings.

When issuing warnings, the meteorologist utilises the wildfire index, as well as weather observations and forecasts, in addition to their own expertise. The wildfire index calculates the dryness of the terrain, utilising weather observations, such as precipitation, air temperature and wind. The index has been developed at the Finnish Meteorological Institute to suit Finnish conditions.

Open fires are forbidden when the warning is in force

When a wildfire warning is in force, it is forbidden to light an open fire. An open fire refers to a campfire or other similar use of fire, in which the fire may get out of control, either along the ground or as flying sparks. In addition to campfire, a disposable grill, for example, is an open fire.

"The same prohibition applies to all three levels of wildfire warnings, yellow, orange and red. Before starting a fire, always check the valid warning for the current day", Tuomo Bergman emphasises.

Open fires must always be authorised by the landowner, i.e. they do not belong to Everyone's Rights (formerly Everyman's Rights). The person who lights the fire is always the one responsible for the fire. A city may impose a ban on making open fires in places other than those designated for the purpose. Rescue or environmental authorities may, for justified reasons, also prohibit open fires during other periods.

More information:

Account Manager, meteorologist Tuomo Bergman, Finnish Meteorological Institute, tel. 029 539 2035,