GENEVA (AP) — Swiss police ordered the evacuation of several mountain villages Monday night as a bushfire spread, though it was not immediately clear how many people were affected.
Some 200 firefighters, the army, the police and other partners worked together with helicopters to put out the flames in the canton of Valais throughout the afternoon, but they continued to burn.
“Fire is spreading towards Ried-Morel-Riederhorn,” police said in a short statement on Twitter at 18:30 GMT, saying they would evacuate the town of Ried-Morel, near the town of Brig, which is close to the Italian border. He later added that three other villages would be evacuated and warned of rockfalls.
Air Zermatt, which operates four of the helicopters, said efforts to extinguish the fire would continue overnight. Valais police released photos showing a helicopter hanging a water cannon over a forest fire in the afternoon. A later shot showed a much larger fire with smoke dwarfing most of the forest.
The area is being hit by the same Mediterranean heat wave that is affecting southern Europe, with temperatures topping 30 degrees Celsius in parts of the Valais canton this week, forecasts show.
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