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'Extreme' risk Swedish wildfires could spread to south of the country

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'Extreme' risk Swedish wildfires could spread to south of the country
A Swedish firefighting plane in Sveg. Photo: Robert Henriksson/TT
07:46 CEST+02:00
The risk of wildfires breaking out in southern Sweden has increased to an extreme level as the country prepares for the possibility of even more blazes over what is expected to be a critical period.

North and central regions have so far bore the brunt of the fires. The large fire in Trängslet, Älvdalen spread further over Tuesday night, breaching the previous boundary to the north, and firefighting aircraft have been called in to help. It has not entered the shooting range where undetonated shells may be present however.

“It has been fought with good results from the ground during the night, and staff have managed to lay hoses outside the fire,” Älvdalen municipality explained early on Wednesday morning.

READ ALSO: EU scrambles to send firefighting help to Sweden, Greece and Latvia

The potential for new fires in other affected parts of the country appears to be decreasing, and instead the risk will shift to extreme levels in previously calmer areas in Svealand and Götaland.

“The fire risk forecast gives us a number of clues on the risk of fires breaking out, how they spread and how they behave if they occur. It also looks at how dry it is deeper in the ground,” Rickard Hansen from Sweden’s Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) told newswire TT.

National weather agency SMHI, who provides the forecast on fires, predicts southern Sweden will be at “extreme risk” of wildfires on Friday.

“The fire risk forecast decides quite a lot, such as the allocation of resources for us and the emergency services. We move equipment to the places where the risk is highest,” Patrik Jansson from MSB noted.

READ ALSO: Total fire ban enforced in several Swedish counties

The Swedish government has called a meeting of its crisis management council to try and tackle the fires. The council usually includes the head of the Swedish police, the head of security police Säpo, the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, the head of MSB and a representative for Sweden’s county councils.

Foreign backup has arrived in Sweden to help alleviate the situation. Polish support has been divided and is working in Jämtland and Ljusdal, French firefighters are in place in Ljusdal, and German firefighters are working in Trängslet. Waterbombing planes from Portugal are expected to touch ground on Wednesday. 

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