Smoke rises from just beyond a bank of trees and homes, as a wildfire threatens large tracts of land, outside Ljusdal, Sweden, July 17,  2018.
Smoke rises from just beyond a bank of trees and homes, as a wildfire threatens large tracts of land, outside Ljusdal, Sweden, July 17, 2018.

Sweden has called for emergency assistance from the European Union to tackle dozens of wildfires raging across the country.

The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency said Wednesday two water-bombing planes on loan from Italy and helicopters from Norway have joined the effort. 

Officials said more than 40 fires are burning, including in the Arctic Circle. 

“The drought has led to a large amount of simultaneous fires in the forests and land,” emergency services company SOS Alarm said in a statement, adding that the number of fires would “likely” increase on Wednesday.

Sweden has been experiencing above-average temperatures and a severe shortfall of rain since May, resulting in dry vegetation that is susceptible to fire. 

Temperatures reached over 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) in Stockholm Wednesday, for the fifth consecutive day. 

No casualties have been reported so far but thousands have been urged to remain inside with the windows shut to avoid breathing smoky air.