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Police suspect negligence caused 230-hectare forest fire

The blaze was the region's worst in nearly half a century.

An aerial view of a section of the forestry area destroyed by the blaze. Image: Kalle Niskala / Yle

A preliminary investigation into the fire that destroyed 230 hectares of forest in Kalajoki, Northern Ostrobothnia during the summer has been completed, with police saying they suspect the blaze was caused by negligence.

"One person is suspected of negligent endangerment," detective inspector Ilkka Piispanen, who is leading the investigation, told Yle. "The police do not suspect that the act was intentional, but it was negligence."

Police have passed the case file onto prosecutors. There is only one suspect, who has denied any involvement.

The blaze raged through woodland around the village of Rauti and the town of Kalajoki for more than two weeks, from the end of July into the beginning of August.

The fire was the second largest in Finland this decade, and the worst in the region of Northern Ostrobothnia for nearly half a century.