In Case of Fire

If you see a forest fire, call the emergency services number 112 immediately, and then try to start putting out the fire yourself if possible.

Forest fire. Photo: Heikki Räsänen

Try to put out the fire from upwind. To help beat out a fire, find a small spruce tree or a juniper bush, and cut off sections about a metre in length from the lower branches to make brushes. If there is water nearby, wet the branches. Beat down the fire, but take care not to beat too hard and spread sparks. Beat any burning areas towards the fire, pressing the brushes to the ground to smother the fire. Prevent the spread of the fire by clearing away any loose branches, sticks or dry moss etc from the ground ahead of the fire.

If Your Clothes Catch Fire

  • If your clothes catch fire, throw yourself to the ground and roll around to smother the flames. Wet your clothes with water if possible.
  • If you see that someone else's clothes are on fire, throw them to the ground quickly. Smother the flames by rolling them around on the ground or by using a blanket or water, starting from their head to prevent facial injuries first. Wet their clothes if possible.

Help Prevent Forest Fires

The two most common reasons for forest fires in Finland are lightning, and carelessly tended campfires. Forest fires are also sometimes caused by careless smokers or by children playing with fire.

  • Campfires should never be left unwatched.
  • Always put out campfires properly.
  • Be aware of any official forest fire warnings, and do not light fires when warnings apply.
  • Do not throw smouldering cigarette ends onto dry terrain.
  • Teach young children how to treat fire with respect. Most kids are fascinated by fire, and adults should take care not to leave matches or cigarette lighters where curious children could find them.
  • The careless use of camping stoves can also result in forest fires. Do not refill stoves with fuel until they have cooled down properly. Use a funnel to make sure fuel is not spilt onto the ground. Keep camping stoves and their fittings in good condition.