Sweden has been suffering from a 260 year all-time-high heatwave, with little or no rain for several months.
Sweden issued a plea and also got international help to fight the many forest fires, some of which still are live.
This is bad news for the European Rifle Championships, that was planned to start this weekend.
The shooting range (one of Europe’s largest) is located in a very dry forest area, and there were already some fires going on in the area. To bring 700 competitors to fire an estimated amount of 500 000 bullets, some onto steel targets, and possibly stones and rocks, would be a very bad idea as there was no rain at all in the weather forecasts.
The shooting range is Bofors Test Area, and it’s absolutely huge (imagine supersonic rockets and artillery).
Due to the nature and location of the shooting range, it may be very difficult to escape out of the area if needed. The roads around the area are quite often very narrow, and it may be difficult to turn your car around to go in a different direction.
At the end there were no options left but to cancel and postpone the Championship for safety. I am sure this was a though decision to take, but the right and responsible one.
I feel very sorry for the competitors that have worked really hard to get into shape and perform their absolute best, and also for those who lost money on pre-paid flights, hotels and so on.
Of course it’s a disaster for the officials and volunteers that have invested a lot of time and money as well, not to mention the companies that sponsor the sport.
On the bright side, I am confident there will be a Championship, but at a later time in 2019.
There are also talks (as in wishes) about making the ERC2018 into a World Shoot 2019, by adding 6 stages. We will see – I am sure the officials are busy with other things than adding more stages at the moment.
Below: A picture from the ERC 2012, in Bulgaria.
Some official statements from IPSC Officials:
ERC 2018 CANCEL NOTE FROM IPSC PRESIDENT
We are deeply sorry that due to the extensive forest fires and extreme weather conditions in Sweden, it has been found that for reasons of safety it is not possible to hold the European Championship in Dynamic Rifle Shooting that would be held in Karlskoga from August 5 to 11.
The organizers have done all they could, but the Swedish authorities’ position in connection with the very difficult and extremely dangerous situation for the participants forced the adoption of such a difficult decision for everyone.
Only a few days ago there was a big fire in the Villingsberg shooting range.
Again, we are deeply sorry about not being able to execute this event, but we have already commenced planning for 2019.
The Match organisers are all working hard to resolve the current situation, and I ask all athletes and officials to show restraint and keep morale, and not to allow the dissemination of various rumours and conjectures.
The organizers will provide additional details and news on the current situation as soon as they are available. We will keep you posted.
Below: A Swedish competitor at an earlier IPSC Rifle Championship.
“We are sorry to inform you, that the European Rifle Championship 2018 has been cancelled due to the recent situation in Sweden with wild fires. Please read the attached press release HERE”
Wildfires cancel European Championships
The European Championship in Dynamic Rifle Shooting that would be held in Karlskoga from August 5 to 11 has been cancelled. Due to the extensive forest fires and extreme weather conditions in Sweden, it has been found that for reasons of safety it is not possible to hold the competition. Instead, the ambition is to host the match in the same place next year.
The wildfires raging in many parts of Sweden, combined with the extreme weather, led to the conclusion that it was necessary for safety reasons to cancel the European Championship in Dynamic sport shooting that would have been held on the Villingsberg’s shooting range.
Talks have been held today between all parties involved.
After extensive consultation with the Armed Forces, Karlskoga Municipality, the International Practical Shooting Confederation and the match sponsors, it was clear that the best solution is to move the competition one year even though this is a deviation from the international championship program.
Karlskoga Municipality immediately gave its full support for a 2019 competition, as did the international federation IPSC, now we are just waiting for a positive message from the Armed Forces so that the competition can really be carried out in 2019.
Roland Dahlman, President of the Swedish Dynamic Sport Shooting Association, says:
”It is an extreme situation and, as far as we know, this is the first time ever a European Championship has been canceled because of wildfires.
We know the 700 of competitors that would take part in the match will be extremely dissappointed, and so is the organizing team. After having worked so hard for years towards a common goal, it is taken away from us at the finish line.
Virtually everything was finished, there were only a few things left to do before the competitors, range officers and volunteers were due to arrive in late July.
However, I am positive for 2019 and I have faith that the Armed Forces will commit for next year so that we can jointly finish the championship. We hope that the contestants, audiences and other stakeholders have an understanding of the critical situation”
“It is the right decision, it is important to take responsibility in such an extreme weather situation – we welcome the competition back in 2019”, says Martin Lindström of Karlskoga municipality.
Dynamic Sport Shooting:
“Dynamic Sport Shooting is a sport where the competitor shoots on multiple targets placed on multiple distances for time. The competitor who achieves the highest total score of time and points wins.”
You can find the European Rifle Championships 2018 homepage here.
TFB’s story on the previous World Shoot in Russia can be found here.