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Sweden likely to ask NATO for help in forest fires

Staff Writer |
Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven told the Swedish Television SVT on Thursday that the country might ask for NATO's help in controlling the raging forest fires.

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"The government has given the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency a permission to ask help from NATO's Partnership for Peace countries," Lofven told SVT.

On Thursday, the forest fires are burning on an area of 25,000 hectares and its damages are estimated to reach over 900 million SEK (102 million U.S. dollars).

Meanwhile, new methods in controlling the forest fires have been taken into use. SVT reported on Wednesday that Swedish Air Forces used JAS Gripen fighter aircrafts to bomb some of the most difficult fires.

According to the Swedish Air Forces and the fire department, their hope was to "eat up" all the oxygen that the fires needs to burn.

"Our preliminary evaluation is that the bombings had a very positive effect and parts of the fire have been extinguished," fire chief Johan Szymanski told SVT on Thursday, a day after the bombings.

In addition, Swedish ski resorts have offered their snow storages to be used in putting out the fires. Weather modification has also been discussed as artificial rain clouds could help in putting out the fires.

The forest fires have been burning for two weeks, forcing thousands of people to evacuate their homes.

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