Forest fire spreads across Switzerland

Forest fire spreads across Switzerland

27 April 2011

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Switzerland — A fire has broken out in south Switzerland, spreading over 100 hectares of woodland and endangering residential areas on the outskirts of the town of Viege.

Over 350 firefighters, aided by helicopters and even the army, are trying to contain the fire which started late Tuesday and has kept spreading all through the drought-stricken forest, AFP reported.

Lack of snowfall and mild spring weather have contributed to low water levels at lakes, and dry tinder in the forests of many areas in Switzerland.

Strong winds have pushed the flames fast up the nearby mountainsides, blocking the main road to Visp, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) from popular ski area Zermatt and the famed Mount Matterhorn.

The fire started from an auto repair shop and quickly spread across forestland in the Swiss canton (state) of Valais, but the exact cause of it remains unknown.

Authorities have sent warning to the residents of the area over wild flames and people living in the affected area have been evacuated.

The fast-spreading fire is still far from being under control.

The Swiss woodland areas are close to human settlements. Switzerland is experiencing one of the worst droughts it has seen in 150 years.

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