Yesterday, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon of Norway visited the Civil Defence in Drammen.
His visit was to thank them for the extraordinary efforts of the Civil Defence and emergency services during the summer’s drought and forest fires that ravaged in the eastern parts of Norway. The Crown Prince also had the chance to try to be a firefighter in the civil defence. He got his own helmet and Civil Defence uniform while at the same time getting a good introduction on how to fight forest fires.
The Crown Prince met with commanders and crew in the bomb shelters where the Civil Defence has their headquarters. They gave an insight into how it is to work in a forest fire, the size of crews that are needed, and how it is to work with forest fires at night.
The visit ended with a snack in the cafeteria, and Crown Prince Haakon took the opportunity to thank for the huge effort being made. His Royal Highness said: “I want to say thank you all to you. You are responsible for an important piece of our security. The fact that we have that resource – that you come and help – is absolutely essential. We saw this clearly this summer when there were so many forest fires. Nevertheless, it is also an asset that is important in many other contexts that are not as visible. On behalf of us all: Thank you very much.”
Almost 70,000 hours of work have been used on forest fires in Norway so far this year. By comparison, 45,000 hours were spent last year. Most fires have been in Telemark and Buskerud. The Civil Defence of Drammen, which the Crown Prince visited, is in Buskerud. Buskerud Civil Defense District has been involved in the extinguishing of 14 fires. In Telemark there were 16 fires only in July.
The summer of 2018 was extremely dry in Sweden and Norway. In Sweden, there were even greater forest fires than in Norway, and several members of the Swedish royal family visited the places where the fires burned.