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Rain front slows forest fires in north

Emergency Services are still fighting blazes and monitoring quenched fires in Eastern Lapland.

Pyhärannan metsäpalon sammutustöitä.
Wildfires have plagued many regions of Finland and nearby countries due to drought. Image: Roni Lehti / Lehtikuva

Rain showers have helped subdue the worst of the forest fires currently raging in Eastern Lapland, according to local police.

"Harder rains are still likely in the whole affected region," says police communications manager Ari Soppela. "We also hope the precipitation will reach into Russia so as to minimise the risk of renewed fires significantly by next week."

Soppela says that at least 10-20 ml of rain would be needed to completely quell the fires and their embers.

"We have to keep monitoring the situation and the weather for as long as there are still fires on the Russian side, as some of the blazes may reignite after the rains have passed," Soppela says.

News agency STT reports that the border guard station at Raja-Jooseppi is now fully operational again after the roads and the station itself were briefly shut down due to the forest fires.

Work continues after flames die

One wildfire some one thousand kilometres south in Pyhäranta was successfully quenched on Friday afternoon. Monitoring of the region continued on Saturday night and is still ongoing.

"We found dozens of small smoldering spots but there have been no more flames have erupted," says fire chief Markus Rautio from the Finland Proper fire department. "We're still on site with three units today, and we won't vacate the area until early next week."

Rautio says that dozens of hectares of forest and a storage shed full of fibreglass boats burned down before the Pyhäranta fire was stopped.

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