French firefighters struggle with blaze near surfer resort

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 17, 2012 4:47 AM
French firefighters struggle with blaze near surfer resort

BORDEAUX, France (Reuters) - Around 200 French firefighters fought a wildfire on Friday that has destroyed a large swathe of forest and scrubland near a popular seaside and surfing resort in southwestern France.

Two firefighters were slightly injured and 15 people had to leave their homes during early attempts to combat a blaze that broke out on Thursday near Lacanau on the Atlantic coast, local fire service officials said.

"The fire's less virulent now but the wind and soaring heat are not helping," said Jerome Mesure, a fire brigade captain.

Four firefighting planes were deployed to tackle the fire, which consumed about 450 hectares (1,100 acres) of forest and scrubland overnight, in an area of France renowned for its large, flat expanses of pine forest and big-wave beaches.

Temperatures in the region soared on Friday and were forecast to approach 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).

(Reporting by Claude Canellas; Writing by Brian Love; Editing by Alistair Lyon)