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Crews battle fresh wildfires over 80 hectares in western Finland

Firefighters have reined in the spread of forest fires in Kauhava, western Finland but say that they will be tamping down new outbreaks for days.

Kuva otettu Karjanlahdelta noin 20 kilometrin päästä palopaikasta.
Photo taken from Karjanlahti, 20 kilometres from the scene of the fires. Image: Teija Ruuhola

Fire officials say they have managed to contain the spread of forest fires that raged over an area of 80 hectares in Kauhava, Ostrobothnia over the weekend. However they predict that it will be days before they are able to extinguish new outbreaks.

The fire reportedly started from equipment used in a peat production area in Ohraneva in Kauhava Sunday afternoon.

"During the night the crew managed to contain the burn area and confine the perimeter. There are still plenty of isolated blazes in the centre of the area," said crew chief Jari Kankaanpää.

Officials received an alert about the fires on Sunday afternoon around 2.20pm. Peat production equipment was believed to be the cause of the fire, which officials suspect spread from the peat bog to the nearby forest.

Peat firms join firefighting efforts

Several firefighting teams from southern Ostrobothnia and 30 conscripts from Niinisalo were involved in beating back the wildfires on Sunday. Peat production firms from other areas also joined the effort.

"It’s important that manpower, tractors and water tanks from other peat production areas have come. We will fight the fire together," Kankaanpää said.

Provisions for the on-duty crews are being provided by contract workers from Nurmo and Kortesjärvi fire departments. Teams will likely be working in shifts stretching up to 13 hours. Fire officials said they expect to be working in the area for several days.

"For the moment we will manage. We’ll just swap teams when they get tired."

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