10.06.2008

The blaze of Tuntsa

In 1960, God in his wisdom deemed it appropriate to burn down part of the forests of Tuntsa. I was asleep, when Fire Chief Yrjö Tervo came to rouse me by knocking on the window. He said that I needed to get up and go to Tuntsa to put out a fire. I had no choice but to go. I drove to Kota-Antti, from where I gathered some men and, together, we marched into the wilderness of Tuntsa. On our way there, we climbed on top of a high hill from where we had a view over a large area. From our vantage point, it seemed that both the northern and north-eastern wilderness were on fire. The blaze of Tuntsa destroyed 10,000 hectares of actual forest area and a total of 20,000 hectares of land. Almost 500 men were engaged in putting out the fire. The blaze of Tuntsa still remains the biggest forest fire in Finland.
Kaarlo Niemelä alias Mettä-Kalle.

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10/10

A painful mission

The Winter War had broken out. We numbered about a dozen men tasked with escorting and guiding people and cattle to take the Savukoski road towards the west. In Kotala, we shot the cows in the barn since we could not take them with us. When we left Kotala, the soldiers immediately set the buildings...