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Forest fires in Sweden force thousands of people to evacuate

Staff Writer |
Thousands of people have been forced to evacuate their homes due to forest fires in Sweden and the Swedish TV SVT reported on Tuesday that fires are now burning in 80 different locations throughout the country.

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The forest fires started during the weekend and have now spread across whole Sweden. According to the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency several buildings have burned and there is a risk that more could be destroyed.

"The weather is expected to be the 'worst imaginable' with 30 degrees heat, extremely low humidity and heavy winds," fire chief Johan Szymanski told SVT.

Six Norwegian helicopters have flown to Sweden and two Italian firefighter airplanes are arriving on Tuesday evening to help stop the raging fires.

The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency has also asked the European Union for help, and volunteers are searched throughout Sweden as the resources of local fire departments and home guard are not enough.

In parts of Sweden, it has become impossible to try to extinguishing forest fires as they have reached Swedish Armed Force's artillery target area which may contain dud explosives.

"We immediately cleared the area with a risk distance of 600 meters. It became too dangerous. Soon we will withdraw the helicopters as well. There is not much we can do right now," says fire chief Johan Szymanski.

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