500 firefighters to battle blaze in French forest

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The fire service in France says over 500 firefighters are battling to stop a fire that has already destroyed 900 hectares of pine forest in the southern part of the country.

Commander Philippe Fabre from the Aude fire service told newsmen on Thursday that the fire broke out on Wednesday afternoon in Aude, southeast of the city of Carcassonne.

About 900 hectares (2,200 acres) of the forests have been burnt, and they were recently classified as having a “severe” risk of fire because of a recent drought.

Fabre said the fire was fanned by overnight winds blowing gusts of 40 kmh (25 mph) but homes were not under threat.

No buildings have been destroyed or people injured, he added, but warned that the wind strength was forecast to strengthen during the day.

Firefighters were working to stop the blaze reaching nearby villages.

“The fire if complicated because it is in an area difficult to access,” an Aude official said.

The fire service said it planned to drop water bombs over the burning area, after dampening down the edges of the forest overnight.

 




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