Spain hopes fire horror soon doused

Spain hopes fire horror soon doused 

16 August 2006

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Galicia, Spain — There is hope in the stricken Spanish region of Galicia that the forest fire situation is at last coming under control. 

Over the last 10 days, flames have ravaged an area thought to be larger in size than the island of Malta. 44 fires are still burning in the region, while 79 have been put out orcontained.

 Environment Minister Cristina Narbona said 27 people had been arrested on suspicion of arson, including a part-time firefighter. She told reporters that full investigations would be undertaken by the police, and no one would be immune from prosecution.

The operation to tackle the fires is the biggest ever launched in Spain. 2000 soldiers were joined by 15 thousand firefighters, using 70 planes and helicopters and hundreds of vehicles. Five people have died since the beginning of August.

Meanwhile 700 firefighters are battling at least seven forest fires raging in Portugal. But with rain forecast later in the day, it looks like the worst could beover.


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