Brush fire near Marseille brought under control

   Brush fire near Marseille brought under control

23 July 2009

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France — Firefighters have brought under control a brush fire that damaged houses in the southern French city of Marseille, France Info radio reported Thursday.

Some 1,100 hectares of brush and pine forest burned down and black smoke covered France’s second-largest city at the height of the blaze, which was sparked my military target practice.

Several dozen houses were reportedly damaged by the fire and several hundred people had to be evacuated in a district in the east of the city.

The blaze broke out Wednesday afternoon following target practice with tracer bullets by soldiers from a nearby army base.

The regional police chief, Michel Sappin, said that to carry out target practice during a period of high temperatures and no rain was ‘stupid’ and ‘scandalous.’

The officer responsible for having ordered the exercise has been suspended.

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