Ten helicopters and 350 firemen were on Tuesday battling a forest fire near the town of Viege in the south of drought-stricken Switzerland.

"/> Ten helicopters and 350 firemen were on Tuesday battling a forest fire near the town of Viege in the south of drought-stricken Switzerland.

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FIRE

Fire follows drought in southern Switzerland

Ten helicopters and 350 firemen were on Tuesday battling a forest fire near the town of Viege in the south of drought-stricken Switzerland.

The fire, which has consumed about 100 hectares (250 acres) of forest, broke out in the late afternoon after high winds apparently fanned flames coming from a burning car body shop at Viege.

Police said a large part of the affected zone is inaccessible on foot and that the work of firemen and helicopters was complicated by strong winds, which has since weakened.

Late Tuesday night, parts of Viege are still engulfed by smoke.

No buildings were immediate threatened by the fire, but residents of the nearby village of Visperterminen, some three kilometres (two miles) to the south, were evacuated.

Several Swiss cantons have over the past week imposed bans on lighting fires in or near forested areas amid one of the worst droughts to hit the country in 150 years.

FIRE

Man dies in car fire at Jura petrol station on New Year’s Eve

Police in the canton of Jura are investigating why a vehicle caught fire at a petrol station in the village of Breuleux on Sunday morning, killing the driver.

Man dies in car fire at Jura petrol station on New Year’s Eve
Photo: Jura police
Given the size of the fire and the fact it took place in a petrol station, a large team of 30 firefighters and eight fire engines was sent to tackle the blaze, police said in a statement.
 
Residents of four nearby apartment blocks were evacuated and one elderly person in shock received medical attention. 
 
Firefighters were unable to save the driver of the car, who was found dead inside the vehicle. 
 
According to Le Matin, the victim was a local musician and guitar teacher who was due to perform during the New Year’s Eve event of a local restaurant later that day.
 
Investigations are ongoing to determine why the car – a hybrid Toyota, according to the paper – burst into flames.