An undrained swamp of over 60 hectares became the new property of the Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation along with some nearby forest in Halsua as a result of a deal that was made in October 2014. Part of the finance came from the Ostrobothnia conservation district, with which the foundation had launched a campaign for the conservation of swamps in the spring of 2012. This latest deal was the third one made during the course of the campaign.
Virvatuli is located by the southern border of Halsua with one of its corners reaching the borderline with Perho. Southwest of the area, we see the Penninkijoki river flowing under the foundation’s protection as well as the wide Natura area of Hangasneva-Säästöpiirinneva.
Virvatuli was sold to the foundation by Eija and Jukka Syrjälä from Veteli, a couple who had owned the area for over a decade. According to Jukka Syrjälä, the location far away from the roads is one of the reasons the area has remained in peace. There has only been minor pruning conducted in the area during their ownership. The previous owner had also left the place in its natural state. In order to reach the area, one must travel over a kilometer of a rough terrain or cross the Penninkijoki river on the west side.
Over half of the Virvatuli area is made of swamp, and the other arm of the old ditch running through the area has become overgrown. The swamp belongs to the valuable forest environments. The trees are not very old, except for a few emergent trees, but the forest has the structure of one lying in its natural state with its many species. There is some decayed pinewood appearing in the forest as well as some rotten logs of birches. An ancient wildfire has left plenty of burned tree stumps in the area along with burnmarks on the bark. The diversity of the heaths is labelled by raised shorelines appearing as stone groupings.
In the Virvatuli area, there have been several observations made of the Finnish forest reindeer, which appears as herds of as many as a hundred individuals. In the summertime, the females like to pasture with their cubs by swamps because it is there they find nourishment suitable for them. Virvatuli is the 47th conservation area of the foundation and the third one in the Ostrobothnia region.