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Last updated at 13:13 BST, Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Summer fires in Europe


29 July 2009

The emergency services in Spain and other European countries, Greece, Italy and France, are still struggling to control forest fires. Thousands of acres have been destroyed.

Danny Wood

Spanish emergency vehicles


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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 one hundred square kilometres. In Spain's southern province of Almeria, the fires are under control but more than 10 villages are without water and electricity.

In central Greece and southern Italy firefighters are working to contain blazes that caused the evacuation of hundreds of people. On the French island of Corsica, another major fire is still burning.

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.

Temperatures in southern Europe are expected to remain very high and firefighters are watching for new outbreaks.

Danny Wood, BBC News, Spain


Click to hear the words:


on a fire alert

prepared to deal with fires which might happen soon

water planes

aeroplanes which carry large amounts of water and which fly over large areas of land on fire and drop water to try to put out the fire

battling blazes

fighting or trying to extinguish or put out fires

a week of flames

fires which have been burning for 7 days

under control

contained, not spreading further

contain blazes

stop the fires from spreading


official movement of people from a dangerous place to a safe one

the fires were deliberately lit

people started the fires intentionally; the fires weren't accidental

people suspected of starting blazes

people who allegedly began the fires


sudden beginnings of things, especially dangerous or unpleasant things (here, fires)