Friday, 20 July 2018

Wildfires in Sweden from Arctic Circle to Baltic Sea

"NATO and the United States should change their policy because the time when they dictate their conditions to the world has passed," Ahmadinejad said in a speech in Dushanbe, capital of the Central Asian republic of Tajikistan

Sweden battles wildfires from Arctic Circle to Baltic Sea, issues record number of public warnings

Above Karbole, Sweden where fires have burned since the weekend, smoke blotted out the sun on 18 July 2018. Graphic: AFP

18 July, 2018

18 July 2018 (BBC News) – Forest fires raging across Sweden as far north as the Arctic Circle have prompted authorities to ask for international assistance.

On Wednesday afternoon, 44 fires were burning from Lapland in the far north to the southern island of Gotland.

Hot weather and persistent drought are the main causes, and the national weather service has issued fire warnings for almost the entire country.

Italy and Norway have both despatched firefighting aircraft to help.

Sweden said Italy had sent 13 people in two Canadair CL-415 "waterbombers", each of which can carry 6,000 litres of water at a time.

Norway's national broadcaster NRK, meanwhile, reported that 10 helicopters had been despatched to aid its neighbour - six on Tuesday and another four on Wednesday - despite the risk of similar fire outbreaks in Norway itself.

The wildfires have raged in parts for days and without a break in the hot dry weather they have shown little sign of stopping.

Many people have been evacuated from their homes in Sweden, while others have been told to shut off all ventilation to keep smoke outside.

Fire chief Britta Ramberg told Swedish media the fire in Jämtland was "the largest and spreading the fastest". Official advisories said that this blaze grew from 1,600 hectares to 3,000 on Tuesday alone, and that firefighters had been unable to contain it.

Many firefighters were being recalled from holiday to join the operation.

Nine important public warnings have also been issued - a record number - as temperatures have hovered near or exceeded 30C for an extended period. [more]

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