Crews contain fresh wildfires in western Finland

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A helicopter releases water to extinguish wild fires in Kauhava, Finland on Monday. (Timo Aalto/AFP/Getty Images)
Fire officials say they have managed to contain the spread of forest fires that raged over an area of 80 hectares in Kauhava, Ostrobothnia over the weekend. However they predict that it will be days before they are able to extinguish new outbreaks.

The fire reportedly started from equipment used in a peat production area in Ohraneva in Kauhava Sunday afternoon.

“During the night the crew managed to contain the burn area and confine the perimeter. There are still plenty of isolated blazes in the centre of the area,” said crew chief Jari Kankaanpää.

Officials received an alert about the fires on Sunday afternoon around 2.20pm. Peat production equipment was believed to be the cause of the fire, which officials suspect spread from the peat bog to the nearby forest.

Peat firms join firefighting efforts

Several firefighting teams from southern Ostrobothnia and 30 conscripts from Niinisalo were involved in beating back the wildfires on Sunday. Peat production firms from other areas also joined the effort.

“It’s important that manpower, tractors and water tanks from other peat production areas have come. We will fight the fire together,” Kankaanpää said.

Provisions for the on-duty crews are being provided by contract workers from Nurmo and Kortesjärvi fire departments. Teams will likely be working in shifts stretching up to 13 hours. Fire officials said they expect to be working in the area for several days.

“For the moment we will manage. We’ll just swap teams when they get tired.”

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: This year’s exceptional heat is becoming the new normal, scientists warn, CBC News

Finland: Wildfires: Finland’s hesitation in assisting Sweden criticized, Yle News

Norway: European Arctic swelters under tropical temperatures, breaks heat records, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Forest fires are raging across the Barents region, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Forest fires will become more frequent as climate warms, says scientist, Radio Sweden

United States: Alaska’s firefighters are ready for wildfire season, Alaska Public Media

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