Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

Sweden struggles to contain ferocious wildfires

Norway sends assistance as Sweden struggles to contain ferocious wildfires Sweden struggles to contain wildfires as heatwave continues
Patty Aguilar | 22 July, 2018, 02:25

The Guardian says that 11 of the fires are inside the Arctic Circle.

The fires are happening alongside a heatwave that has been plaguing Northern Europe all summer, causing record-breaking highs across Scandinavia.

Authorities in Sweden have warned that the risk of fires is set to continue, with the temperature remaining at around 30 degrees centigrade.

Forests worth an estimated 600 million Swedish crowns ($67 million) have so far gone up in flames, news agency TT said, citing the Swedish Forest Agency. The town of Jokkmokk, a popular winter tourist destination, was threatened by fires in the vicinity.

Italy has sent two planes and Norway eight helicopters to assist in firefighting efforts, but Sweden's Civil Contingencies Agency has appealed to the European Union for more aerial assistance, saying the fires were the worst in modern times.

The EU Commission helped mobilise two firefighting planes from Italy, and the EU's Copernicus satellite mapping system has been activated to help Swedish authorities.

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"The drought has led to a large amount of simultaneous fires in the forests and land", emergency services company SOS Alarm said in a statement, adding the number of fires would "likely" increase on Wednesday.

"This is not looking good, it's burning uncontrollably and spreading quickly", rescue officer Torbjorn Wannqvist told TT news agency.

Norway is also reported to have sent 10 helicopters, even though there is a risk of similar fires starting in Norway.

In the Swedish city of Uppsala, North of Stockholm, today recorded a temperature of 34 degrees for the first time since 1947.

Neighboring Norway was hit by wildfires in 100 locations in the south last week, some of which were triggered by lightning.

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