The fires destroyed more than 300 hectares between Monday and Friday in northwestern Finland, in the most significant fire in this Scandinavian country in the past 50 years, which occurred after weeks of soaring summer temperatures.
“The fire continues, but the fire no longer exceeds an area of 300 hectares and has a circumference of 8 kilometres,” fire chief Jarmo Habanen told AFP on Friday.
“It would take at least a week, even two or three, to turn it off completely,” he added.
About 250 people, including military personnel, were involved in extinguishing the fire, with the support of four helicopters.
The fire occurred in a very sparsely populated area, about 500 kilometers north of Helsinki, and did not cause any town to be evacuated.
Although its range is much less than the wildfires in Siberia or Canada this summer, it is the largest in Finland since 1971, according to experts.
“The 1971 fire burned 1,600 hectares,” Habanen explained, acknowledging that they did not know the causes of this week’s fire.
However, the forests are very dry after the particularly hot months of June and July for Finland, with temperatures exceeding 30°C.
Fires are rare and well controlled in Scandinavia, but their frequency may increase with climate change.
The dramatic forest fires that broke out in Sweden in the summer of 2018, with nearly 20,000 hectares burned, illustrate this danger.
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