A wildfire that broke out over the weekend at a national park in Poland on Wednesday continued to spread.
The flames were fanned by drought and strong winds, but officials said they were handling the situation.
According to the Interior Ministry, some 6,000 hectares of forest, marsh meadows and peat bog at Biebrza National Park have been affected so far.
The park is the largest in Poland, at 59,000 hectares.
The situation is dynamic, but under control, and the fire should not spread further, given the forces engaged, Poland’s Environment Minister Michal Wos said as cited by PAP agency.
The national park, located in the north-east of the country, protects the Biebrza river floodplains and is home to a number of rare species, including moose as well as water and marsh birds.
The affected area is difficult to access, which is complicating the firefighting efforts.
Due to the nature of the peat soils and the drought in the park, the fire extinguished at the surface may continue to smolders for days or weeks within the ground and may later be spread by wind.
Some 120 firefighters were at the scene, supported by territorial defence troops and four planes.
They are to be reinforced by additional firefighting troops as well police and military aircraft, interior and defence ministries informed.
No rainfall is expected in the coming days in Poland, according to the national meteorological institute IMGW-PIB.
The country saw an exceptionally dry winter, with no snow cover on the vast majority of its territory.
The national park experiences wildfires almost every year, but usually on a much smaller scale.
Many of them are inadvertently caused by farmers burning grass, which is illegal in Poland.