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Sweden battles to control huge wildfire

Helicopters and tanker planes used to dump tonnes of water on the worst forest fire in Scandinavia in decades.

Last updated: 08 Aug 2014 09:38
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Home owners have evacuated villages threatened by the forest fire near the city of Sala [Reuters]

Fire services backed by helicopters and special planes are fighting a huge forest fire raging for a ninth day in central Sweden, the worst seen in Scandinavia in decades.

Officials said on Friday that the blazes were not yet under control but had not spread overnight.

A day earlier, more than three million litres of water were dumped from the air in addition to ground efforts to control the fire.

The fires in Sala and Surahammar municipalities are raging over an area of 150 square kilometres, according to Swedish media  - equivalent of at least 20,000 football pitches. 

French and Italian air tanker fire planes have been sent to the area west of the capital, Stockholm. Sweden does not have any air tankers of its own and has been using helicopters to help fire crews grapple with the blaze

About 100 firemen as well as National Defence staffers and volunteers are involved in efforts to put out the fire, which comes during an unusually dry and hot summer.

One person has so far been killed - a 30-year-old man found dead on a stretch of road swept by flames. Another man has been brought to hospital with serious injuries, according to local media reports.

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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