In the classic 1994 outdoor film “The River Wild,” Meryl Streep’s hapless husband manages to create a signal fire to let his kidnapped wife know that he is still alive and planning on staging a rescue effort. Upon seeing the wafting plumes of smoke emanating from the mountainside, this inevitably leads Streep to attempt to paddle a whitewater raft down “The Gauntlet” in an effort to kill Kevin Bacon. By the end of the day, Streep manages to beguile Bacon and thereby saves the life of her son and is reunited with her smoke-sign savvy husband.
This, of course, is the Hollywood version of signal fires.
Back here in reality, however, occasionally you break your foot while hiking on a remote Norwegian island, lie incapacitated in the woods for three days … and then you set the entire mountainside ablaze.
This was exactly the fortune of an unlucky hiker who recently fell and broke his foot while hiking alone on the Norwegian island of Hillesoy. In an article posted by Outside Online, a 25-year-old Canadian man attempted to ignite a signal fire in an effort to call for help; however, the fire quickly engulfed his tent and led to the blaze spreading across the forested island.
Though the man was rescued by authorities and transported to a nearby hospital, two army helicopters and 20 firefighters were needed to douse the flames, which incinerated much of the island’s foliage. Hillesoy is home to nearly 800 people, and luckily it has not been reported that the blaze affected any of the island’s residents.
While setting a blaze of this magnitude is considered illegal in Norway, considering the circumstances officials claim that the man will not be facing any charges.
[Image credit: andrusdevelopment on Flickr]