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French soldiers land in Sweden to battle wildfire inferno

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French soldiers land in Sweden to battle wildfire inferno
French waterbombers in Sweden. Photo: Mats Andersson/TT
07:26 CEST+02:00
Dozens of French soldiers landed in Sweden on Monday to join other EU crews helping the Nordic country fight a serious spate of forest fires during an extreme heatwave.

Firefighters on Sunday were battling around 50 wildfires after an unprecedented drought in the region and soaring temperatures, which have reached the highest in a century.

The 30 French soldiers from a Civil Defence unit landed shortly after midnight on Monday in Stockholm, an AFP correspondent said. They will be joined by another 30 firefighters from the south of France later in the day.

France has already sent two Canadair planes to Sweden after authorities asked for EU emergency help to fight the blazes, which have caused no fatalities so far.


Polish firefighters in Sweden on Sunday. Photo: Lisa Abrahamsson/TT

Italy has sent two firefighting aircraft and Norway sent eight helicopters. Germany and Poland also responded to the request for assistance. Sweden's Civil Contingencies Agency on Saturday posted the picture below of 139 firefighters from Poland arriving in the country.

Record temperatures above 33C were reported in Uppsala, north of Stockholm.

There has been practically no rain since the beginning of May in the country, aside from a paltry 13 millimetres that fell in mid-June.

Denmark, southern Norway and northern Finland are also experiencing a period of extreme heat which, according to weather forecasts, is unlikely to end soon.

Read more about the heatwave, drought and wildfire situation HERE.

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