New forest fire rages

New forest fire rages

14 June 2006

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Oslo, Norway — A new forest fire is spreading quickly southeast of Elverum, in Hedmark County, forcing localevacuations.

All available equipment is being rushed to Hedmark.

“It’s moving so fast, this is scary,” Helge Larsen, chief of staff in the Hedmark police district, told on Wednesday evening.

The fire was most threatening in the municipality of Våler, where it was rapidly spreading south, towards residential areas.

“We do not have control over the fire,” Larsen admitted.

NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting) reported that a class of 32 schoolchildren was evacuated in Våler on Wednesday afternoon.

“There was no real danger to the students, but the got a great deal of smoke and smell of smoke due to the wind. Since we didn’t know how the fire would spread, we didn’t want to have them in the area,” Hedmark police district information chief Kari Anne Dobloug told news agencyNTB.

Route 24 in Stange was closed on Tuesday as the forest fire in that area raged out of control.

Cabins and farms were being evacuated and area farmers were instructed to transport their livestock out. The fire is not yet considered to pose a direct threat to people in the area.

“Six to seven square kilometers (2.3-2.7 square miles) of thick forest has already gone up in smoke,” Larsen said.

Teams from the fire department and the civil defense were working at full capacity, but only one helicopter was in firefighting action. Two more helicopters were due to arrive shortly.

Another major forest fire in Stange, another municipality in Hedmark County, flared up again on Wednesday but was under control and after extinguishing work was being carried out.

“It looks like a moonscape, where the fire has raged,” newspaper Hamar Arbeiderblad reported from Stange.


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