Medoc forest fires destroy 500 hectares

9th August 2004, Comments 0 comments

BORDEAUX, France, Aug 9 (AFP) - Firefighters have brought under control a blaze which swept through the French countryside near the southwestern city of Bordeaux Sunday destroying more than 500 hectares (1,200 acres) of pines and dry scrub.

BORDEAUX, France, Aug 9 (AFP) - Firefighters have brought under control a blaze which swept through the French countryside near the southwestern city of Bordeaux Sunday destroying more than 500 hectares (1,200 acres) of pines and dry scrub.  

More than 300 firefighters with 70 water tankers fought the blaze which was whipped up by strong winds. A dozen firefighters suffered from smoke inhalation and heatstroke, three of whom required hospital treatment.  

The turbulent winds split the kilometre-long fire front in two, making the firefighters job more difficult.  

Four Canadair water-dropping planes and a Convair transport capable of carrying 12,000 litres (3,000 gallons) of water were drafted in.   

The cause of the outbreak, in the Medoc area west of Bordeaux, was not immediately known, but firefighters said one area at the town of Sainte-Helene had been hit by thunderstorms. Thick, choking smoke hampered their work Sunday.  

The meteorological office said there had been no rainfall in the area since the beginning of August. Temperatures reached 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) in the region Sunday.  

Over 200 firefighters were still tackling the blaze and were preparing to work throughout the night.   

Forest fires are frequent in southern France during the summer months. Three firemen died in a blaze last year.

 

© AFP

 

Subject: French news

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