Firefighters battled all night long but still didn’t have control Thursday morning over a major forest fire near Halden, southern Norway. Sparks from the brakes of a passing train are believed to have set it off.
Hot weather and tinder-dry conditions allowed the fire to spread quickly. “It’s still burning briskly, and we don’t have control,” Martin Nygårdsmoen of the Østfold Police District told Aftenposten.no.
The area hardest hit is called Ertemarka, about five kilometres southeast of Halden near the Swedish border.
There are some scattered homes in the area, and a few were evacuated Wednesday night. Residents were allowed to return, however, a few hours later.
Firefighters from Halden, Norway’s civil defense and employees of the local forestry company Saugbrugs were taking part in the effort to beat back the flames. A helicopter was also dumping water in the area.
Firefighters also worked through the night to prevent another fire in the hills above Oslo from flaring up again. Authorities have banned all open fires in the forests, called marka.