New Caledonia’s West Coast Under Serious Fire Risk

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New Caledonia’s West Coast Under Serious Fire Risk Territory experiencing drought, high temperatures, strong winds

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 9, 2014) – The New Caledonian government has issued a red alert for most of the main island's west coast because of an extreme fire risk.

15 communes have strict fire bans while most of the rest of the territory is on orange alert.

The drought has been accompanied by high temperatures and strong winds.

About 75 kilometres north of Noumea, a fire has already destroyed about 10 square kilometers of vegetation, reportedly after two fires were deliberately lit.

An official says because of very strong winds the situation is catastrophic, and although two helicopters are in use to battle the fire, he says the means are inadequate.

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