19 Dec 2006

Bush fire destroys 800 hectares of New Caledonia forest

7:49 am on 19 December 2006

Fires raged across New Caledonia at the weekend, destroying about eight hundred hectares of forest in the Pacific territory.

No injuries or damage to residences had been reported.

Officials have been on alert for any repeat of last year's disastrous fires, which required international assistance.

They say the risk has been heightened this year by the return of El Nino, which is marked by major fluctuations in the water surface temperature which can have a drastic impact on the weather.