29 Dec 2005

Environmentalist calls for the army to help put out forest fire in New Caledonia

1:14 pm on 29 December 2005

An environmentalist from the Association to Protect Nature in New Caledonia is calling on the army to help put out a forest fire that has been raging for the past five days.

The fire has already destroyed 3 thousand hectares and is now threatening a major nature reserve on the territory's main island.

An operations centre has been established to coordinate the firefighting effort, which includes water-bombing-helicopters as well as around 40 firemen and 60 soldiers and volunteers.

But Jean Louis D'Auzon says more helicopters are needed to protect the wildlife which is now at risk.

"There are alot of forests and birds and so on, and we are many people who want to fight against the fires but it's very difficult, we have to climb up the mountain and lots of people who went there, nearly 50 or 60 persons are exhausted because it's very hot. We should need to have more helicopters, we should need to have means from the army and we are asking about this."