New Caledonia’s Isle of Pines fights off bushfire

New Caledonia’s Isle of Pines fights off bushfire

11 October 2010

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New Caledonia —  The Isle of Pines, off the southern tip of New Caledonia’s main island, has had a close call after being ravaged by bush fire.

Locals spent about three days fighting flames, with the help of firefighters sent from the mainland and three helicopters doing water drops.

About 40 members of the Wapan tribe had to be evacuated, and the airport was temporarily closed to commercial traffic.

Over 2-thousand hectares of vegetation across the island had been destroyed.

Marie-Jeanne Boure-Bare from the Isle of Pines’ information centre says the fire highlighted the lack of firefighting facilities on the island – and with several weeks of bush fire season left, people are still on edge.

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