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Wildfires in Sweden: which areas are affected?

There have been at least ten wildfires and 50 grass fires each day this week, according to the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB). Here's a look at which areas are affected at the moment, and how Sweden is dealing with the situation.

Wildfires in Sweden: which areas are affected?
A helicopter drops water over a fire in Hästveda, southern Sweden. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

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What's causing the fires?

The MSB says that it is tough to determine exactly what caused most of the fires, but say that human activity is behind them.

“All have been caused by human actions,” the MSB's Jakob Wernerman told the TT news agency. “It can be forestry machinery or people barbecuing sausages. In any case, it's not lightning or anything like that.”

What's being done to fight them?

Water-bombing helicopters have been used to tackle the biggest blazes, as well as firefighters working on the ground.

Sweden has informed the EU of the situation, but has not yet judged it necessary to seek international help.

IN DEPTH: Sweden's green soul: why forests are vital to the Swedish culture and economy

Smoke rises above the forest in Tjällmo. Photo: Jeppe Gustafsson/TT

Where are the most serious fires?

Tjällmo, Motala 

A fire which started on Monday gained new intensity on Wednesday evening because of strong winds. During the evening, five helicopters fought the multiple blazes by water-bombing, but did not manage to bring any of them under control. As of Thursday morning, around 800 hectares of woodland were on fire, with water-bombing expected to continue throughout the day.

Emergency services were also preparing for evacuation of the area, although no evacuation had been ordered yet.

Emergency services on the scene in Tjällmo. Photo: Jeppe Gustafsson/TT

Hästveda, Hässleholm

A blaze in the Skåne town of Hästveda proved difficult to bring under control, but emergency services were helped by calmer winds and more moisture in the air over Wednesday night.

The fire is not completely extinguished, since the ground retains heat for a long time, and was still being water-bombed on Thursday. Around 300 hectares are affected.

Around 50 residents evacuated the area earlier in the week, and had not been able to return home by Thursday, although emergency services said this would likely be possible towards the weekend.

A burned-out farm in Hästveda. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Gnosjö, Jönköping

A fire north of Gnosjö was first reported earlier in the week, and police on Wednesday evening advised locals to be prepared to evacuate. Helicopters have water-bombed the site of the blaze, which covered around 150 hectares, but the extinguishing efforts were expected to continue throughout Thursday. Around five households were evacuated on Wednesday afternoon.

“The fire is not yet under control. We're working full-on to limit the fire,” emergency services worker Henrik Dovrén said late on Wednesday.

These three fires were the most serious, but the MSB was also working to contain and extinguish wildfires in Gislaved, Norrköping, Ronneby and Landvetter near Gothenburg.

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