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Swiss army helps win battle against forest fires

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Swiss army helps win battle against forest fires
Photo: Graubünden police
09:40 CET+01:00
Over a week since a huge forest fire broke out in the canton of Graubünden the situation is finally under control, the Swiss government said in a statement on Wednesday.
Only one Super Puma army helicopter remains working in the Mesolcina area where the fire broke out on December 27th in a forest between the villages of Mesocco and Soazza.
 
The army was drafted in after strong winds fanned the flames over a large area, threatening the villages and leading some inhabitants to be evacuated.
 
On Tuesday 20 military personnel were engaged on the ground to help local authorities detect any remaining fires. Three vehicles equipped with thermal cameras were also in use, said the government.
 
The no-fly zone over the affected area has now been lifted.
 
Firefighters have also battled at least two other fires in the past week – a second in Graubünden and another in the canton of Ticino.
 
The federal office for forests and natural hazards has raised the forest fire risk in some parts of Graubünden to its highest level, meaning the lighting of any type of fire in or near a forest is forbidden. 
 
The fires broke out following a prolonged period of dry weather across much of Switzerland. 
 
 
However the dry spell looks set to finally come to an end. Light snow fell across parts of the country earlier this week, with more expected in the coming days. 

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