26 Jul 2009

Forest fires rage in southern Europe

9:54 pm on 26 July 2009

Firefighters in Spain and on the French island of Corsica have brought under control a number of forest fires that were threatening to engulf large areas.

In the Spanish region of Aragon, where planes and helicopters have been dropping water on the blazes, latest reports say air temperatures are falling.

Hundreds of people have had to leave their homes in Central Greece, Southern Italy and in Corsica.

Many parts of Europe remain on a fire alert.

In Aragon, the worst affected Spanish region, the authorities say 500 personnel, supported by water planes and helicopters are still battling blazes.

A week of flames has destroyed an area the size of 100 square kilometres.

The authorities believe some of the fires were deliberately lit and in Spain where six firefighters have died, more than 15 people suspected of starting blazes are reported to have been arrested.

In central Greece and southern Italy firefighters are working to contain blazes that lead to the evacuation of hundreds of people.

On the French island of Corsica another major fire is still burning.