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August 4, 2009

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Cooler weather eases fire threat

LOWER temperatures yesterday helped firefighters battle two forest fires that have raged on La Palma in Spain's Canary Islands for three days.

One fire in the west of the island has been brought under control and it was hoped another in the east could be contained later yesterday, island environmental director Julio Cabrera said.

Cabrera said overnight efforts to extinguish the blazes were helped by a temperature drop of about 20 degrees Celsius from near 45 degrees when the fires started last Friday. Strong winds have also eased, he said.

The change in weather had even brought some brief spells of rain.

The fires were mainly affecting areas above the towns of Tigalate and Tiguerorte on the southeastern side of La Palma, the island's government said.

No town or village was directly threatened by the fires and no new evacuations were planned, Cabrera said. Around 4,000 people were evacuated in southeastern areas on Saturday and about 50 houses were burned. Spanish national television said many residents were able to return to their homes on Sunday.


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