Europehelps tackle Morocco fires


By Pascale Harter, BBC, Rabat

France,Spain and Italy are to send water-bomber planes to Morocco to fight a majorforest fire raging in the north of the country. Morocco’s government appealedfor help from its Mediterranean neighbours after more than 2,000 hectares offorest had been devoured by flames

Mediterraneanforest fires are common during the hot summer months, but in Morocco they arerare. This is largely because it has fewer and smaller forests.



Sofar no-one has died in the blaze in the region of Sidi Kacem, around 130 km fromthe capital, Rabat. But as the fire continues to spread there is concern itcould reach more populated areas near the capital.


TheMoroccan Royal Gendarmerie has been struggling to contain the fire since earlyTuesday evening, when the King, Mohammed VI, appealed for internationalassistance. On Wednesday morning Canadair planes, more commonly known as waterbombers, will arrive from France, Italy and Spain. The planes can hold more than6,000 litres, dipping into lakes and rivers to scoop up water and then sprayingvast areas of forest. Specially trained pilots remain on high alert in theMediterranean countries over summer, when forest fires can be sparked by soaringtemperatures. 

Hot desert winds have taken temperatures in the northof Morocco up to 43 degrees in the last few days.



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