Fires in waste facilities: Challenges and solutions from a Scandinavian perspective

Ragni Fjellgaard Mikalsen, Anders Lönnermark, Karin Glansberg, Margaret McNamee, Karolina Storesund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fires in waste facilities represent significant potential social, economic and environmental challenges. Although the awareness of fires in waste facilities and their consequences has increased in recent years, significant fire safety challenges remain. Fires in waste facilities in Norway and Sweden have been studied to make an overall fire safety assessment and propose measures for increased fire safety. Common ignition causes include self-heating, thermal runaway in batteries, friction, human activity, technical or electrical error and unfavourable combined storage. High-risk wastes include general, residual waste, batteries, electrical and electronics waste, and paper and cardboard. Frequent fires in outdoor storage, increasing indoor storage and new types of waste appear to result in an increased reluctance by insurance companies to work with waste facilities. Measures are suggested for fire safe facility design, operations, waste handling and storage, as well as actions to limit the consequences for the environment and the facility during and after a fire. These actions may prevent fires and minimise the impact of fires that do occur. Increased fire safety at waste facilities may foster a better dialogue between the industry and insurance providers by reducing the potential economic impacts, and limit potential social costs and environmental impacts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103023
JournalFire Safety Journal
Early online date2020 May 14
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Mar 1

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Environmental Management
  • Building Technologies

Free keywords

  • Battery
  • Environmental impact
  • Ignition
  • Industrial fires
  • Risk assessment
  • Self-heating
  • Waste


Dive into the research topics of 'Fires in waste facilities: Challenges and solutions from a Scandinavian perspective'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this