Most forest fires are reported to the fire service using the emergency number 110. Extinguishing forest fires is the municipality’s responsibility, and the fire service is responsible for the actual extinguishing.
In municipalities where there is a significant danger of forest fires, the fire service must be adapted to handle these types of fires. These municipalities are also obliged to have organised back-up resources that can be called in as needed.
When the fire service receives a report of a forest fire, the 110 emergency centre will normally pass the information on to the Police. In the case of larger forest fires that take time to put out, the Police will play an important part in the effort. Among other things, the Police will be responsible for alerting the public that may be in danger and, if necessary, for securing and evacuating affected areas. Sometimes the Police are the first to be notified, either directly to the local police district or through the emergency number 112. If this happens, the Police will immediately alert the 110 fire emergency centre.
Sometimes a forest fire becomes so large that the local fire service and back-up resources cannot handle the fire on their own. In such cases, the Armed Forces and Civil Defence may be asked to assist. Both the Armed Forces and the Civil Defence have significant resources and can provide personnel, expertise, fire and rescue material, medical supplies, tents, vehicles and communications equipment.
The Norwegian State has one forest fire helicopter that can assist ground crews during a forest fire. The Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) makes decisions regarding use of the helicopter. During periods when need is greatest, the RCC normally makes decisions in consultation with DSB – the Directorate for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning, which is the national fire authority.
There are several international programmes to facilitate the provision of assistance and resources from neighbouring countries if catastrophes occur. If a major crisis should take place, Norway can also benefit from this cooperation.