July 19 (UPI) -- Sweden called on other European countries to help it battle a series of wildfires raging throughout the country Thursday.
Italy, France and Norway sent aircraft to assist Swedish helicopters in combatting the 44 wildfires burning nearly 50,000 acres of forest in the country. Officials evacuated residents from Gavleborg, Jamtland and Dalarna counties.
The largest fire in Fagelsjo-Lillasen has burned more than 6,000 acres.
In addition to receiving aid from other European countries, hundreds of residents from the municipality of Ragunda and other areas have volunteered to assist firefighting efforts.
"There are at least 100 people helping every day to go and see what fires are left that need to be put out and then relating this information back to the firefighters," Ragunda municipality spokeswoman Karina Landin said. "There are also other volunteers helping with providing food and such things. We couldn't be doing this without them."
Sweden's Civil Contingencies Agency also appealed to the Red Cross for help organizing volunteer efforts. We have extensive experience in organizing voluntary efforts and are now scaling up our work immediately," Swedish Red Cross Secretary General Martin Ärnlöv said.
Ärnlöv called for anyone interested and able to help to contact the organization to help with "assistance in evacuation, distributing supplies and spreading information about the ongoing evacuation efforts."
Swedish Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lövin offered thanks to those who were combatting the fire.
"A big thank you to all the heroes, professional and volunteers who are fighting to extinguish the wildfires in this heat. Your efforts are invaluable," she said.