Firefighters are battling the largest forest fire in Sweden's modern history. The badly charred body of a man in his 30s was found on a road north of Stabäck, Västmanland. A 42-year-old man was found in the same area and taken to hospital with serious burns.

sweden forest fire
Smoke billows as the wildfire front nears the village of Rorbo near Sala, central SwedenReuters

Sweden's government declared a national emergency on Monday night, as more than a thousand people have been evacuated from their homes.

The huge blaze is engulfing an area of forest spanning 15,000 hectares northwest of Sala, about 120 kilometres northwest of Stockholm. Firefighters believe it will burn for weeks or even months.

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Home owners and emergency personnel prepare to evacuate a village threatened by the forest fire near Sala, Sweden. Firefighters believe it will burn for weeks or even months. It is classified as the worst forest fire in Sweden's modern historyReuters
sweden forest fire
A helicopter dumps its load of water on the wildfire front just outside the evacuated village of Gammelby near SalaReuters

Firefighters rescued nine volunteers who had become surrounded by flames. Officials say they will no longer accept help from civilians because of the danger.

It's unclear what sparked the fire but authorities say unusually hot weather and dry conditions are fuelling the flames.

sweden forest fire
Police officers close the road as they evacuate civilians south of Norberg townReuters
sweden forest fire
A Canadair CL-415 SuperScooper waterbomber, one of two lent by the French Civil Security, is pictured after landing at Vasteras airport. The aircraft, purpose-built to dump its cargo of over six tons of water onto a fire, will assist in putting out the wildfire that is raging through thousands of hectares in SwedenReuters
sweden forest fire
A firefighting helicopter drops water on the forest fire near the village of RorboReuters