25 Jul 2009

Summer fires spreading in southern Europe

7:13 am on 25 July 2009

Summer wildfires are spreading across parts of southern Europe.

At least eight people have died in fires in Spain, France, Greece and the Italian island of Sardinia in the past few days.

The BBC reports Spain has been hardest hit, with at least seven big fires in the south and east. Several are now rated as stable.

However, the death toll from the fires is six firefighters in the last four days.

Spain is on maximum wildfire alert, by order of the interior ministry.

Strong winds have fanned the flames during the hot dry weather.

Meanwhile, an inquiry is under way in France after a military exercise sparked a major wildfire on the outskirts of Marseille. The fire destroyed 1,300 hectares of brush and threatened houses.

The officer in charge when soldiers fired tracer bullets during a training exercise has been suspended.