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Forest fire spreads to national park

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10:15 CEST+02:00
A fire that started by a rail track in southern Sweden spread during the night to the Store Mosse national park.

The blaze was set off on Monday afternoon by sparks from a rail track between the towns of Gnosjö and Värnamo, in Småland, south-central Sweden, emergency services said.

The fire then spread from the railway embankment to the adjacent forest. Rail traffic was topped and an 11 kilometre stretch of the nearby 151 main road was closed. During the night the fire spread to the Store Mosse national park between Hillerstorp and Värnamo. The forest was still burning on Tuesday morning.

Anders Ögren, leading the emergency services' operations on the scene, said that work on extinguishing the blaze would take time.

"We expect to be working on extinguishing the fire for at least the whole of today. The ground is very hot - so hot that it goes right through your boots," he said on Tuesday morning.

Road 151 opened during the night, but the speed limit was reduced to 50 kilometres per hour and cars were banned from stopping along the road. The road was closed again on Tuesday morning and traffic was being diverted after smoke reduced visibility.

Train traffic is also suspended as members of the rescue services are standing on the line.

Anders Ögren said that a helicopter would be used on Tuesday morning to drop water on the burning forest. More ground-based equipment and further firefighters were also expected at the scene.

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