Southern Switzerland hit by forest fire

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Nine helicopters and 300 men are battling a forest fire near the town of Viege in the south of drought-stricken Switzerland, media reports said Tuesday.

The fire broke out in the late afternoon after high winds fanned flames coming from a burning vehicle by the side of a highway, police said.

No buildings were immediate threatened by the fire, but residents of the nearby village of Visperterminen, some three kilometres (two miles) to the south, were evacuated.

Several Swiss cantons have over the past week imposed bans on lighting fires in or near forested areas amid one of the worst droughts to hit the country in 150 years.

© 2011 AFP

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