Swedish firefighters control forest fire sparked by machinery

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A helicopter was used to drop water on a forest fire in central Sweden, earlier this week. In this picture, a helicopter drops water on a wildfire in Northern Sweden, in 2008. (Ralf Bergman/Reuters/Scanpix)
The prolonged spell of hot, dry weather has sparked the first large forest fire of the summer with emergency services using a helicopter to water bomb a stretch of forest around the Skommarmossen nature reserve in Västmanland county, central Sweden.

The fire began on Monday afternoon and quickly spread through the evening. It was sparked by a forestry machine belonging to the state-owned forestry company Sveaskog.

At noon, Tuesday, the worst was said to be over.

“The situation is much more favourable and is under control. Now fire fighters on the ground are extinguishing the perimeters of the fire,” says fire rescue leader Kenneth Johansson to Swedish Radio’s local station in Västmanland.

New guidelines following 2014 fire

New guidelines around the use of timber cutting machines were issued after the largest forest fire in modern times broke out in the same county of Västmanland in 2014. That blaze took two weeks to bring under control, damaging 14,000 hectares

A military helicopter had water bombed the forested area of Skommarmossen in Skinnskatteberg and about 30 members of Sweden’s Home Guard responded to help fight the fire.

Sweden is experiencing a prolonged dry spell of warm weather and, as the country still waits for rain, different municipalities and cities are issuing bans on all open fires outdoors, due to the tinderbox conditions on the ground.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Feds announce funding to tackle climate change in Inuit region of Atlantic Canada, Radio Canada International

Finland: Finland’s last snow melts a month earlier than usual, YLE News

Norway: As Arctic weather dramatically changes, world meteorologists take on more joint forecasting, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Record heatwave in the Arctic, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Heatwave sparks fears of wildfires in large parts of Sweden, Radio Sweden

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

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