More firefighters were due to arrive in Corsica yesterday to battle fires that have ravaged huge swathes of woodland as a top official urged that those responsible for the blazes be severely punished. At least 10 separate fires continued burning yesterday, and more could break out as the hot winds that have fanned the flames were forecast to gain strength, firefighters said. Firefighters have blamed arsonists for many of the fires, saying they started almost simultaneously. Another 300 firefighters were scheduled to arrive later yesterday on this Mediterranean island from mainland France to join an estimated 1,000 colleagues already on the island. The fires, which have raged for six days, have destroyed woodland in Vizzavona, Ghisoni and near the island’s main town Ajaccio. A fire in the Restonica forest continued to burn yesterday. The co-ordinators of the firefighting effort say the fire has
destroyed at least 1,500 hectares of pines, chestnut and olive trees – more than 25 percent of the scenic forest.
(Information Source: Reuters News Service/Planet Ark, 22 August 2000)