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Wildfires sweep across Finland, straining rescue services

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-05-19 05:47
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HELSINKI -- By Saturday afternoon, Finnish rescue services had responded to a total of 21 wildfire incidents across the country, highlighting the widespread impact of the recent dry conditions.

According to the national broadcaster Yle, incidents have been reported in several regions while notable large-scale fires have been reported in western Ilmajoki and central Keuruu.

In Ilmajoki, a wildfire that started in a peat production area spread to a nearby forest on Saturday afternoon. While the fire in the peat area has been mostly extinguished except for a few smoldering spots, efforts to control the forest fire continue.

The fire has affected an area of 9-10 hectares, and the cause remains unknown. The South Ostrobothnia Rescue Department has deployed 18 units to the scene.

In Keuruu, Central Finland, a fire ignited by a controlled burn for forest management spread across three hectares. The fire has been contained, with 20 units from Central Finland, South Ostrobothnia, and Pirkanmaa rescue services responding.

Another fire in Karstula, also in Central Finland, spread over approximately one hectare. This fire is suspected to have been sparked by a car tire blowout. Thirteen units have been dispatched to the area.

In Siikainen, Satakunta, multiple hectares have been affected by wildfires, with 25 units and a Border Guard helicopter engaged in firefighting efforts. Although no buildings are at risk, extinguishing the fires is expected to take several more hours.

A forest fire warning issued by the Finnish Meteorological Institute is in effect for most of the country. The dry and warm weather, which has persisted throughout the week, has significantly dried out large areas. The rescue services remind the public that open fires are prohibited during a forest fire warning.

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