France: The Flames of Paradise

The Flames of Paradise

Bikini-clad bathers on the French Riviera looked up last week at black-and- orange skies. For five days, the worst forest fires in more than a decade devastated some 25,000 acres of the Cote d'Azur and the inland hills. At least four persons died, and hundreds more were treated for injuries and smoke inhalation.

Authorities blame a rash of fires this year on arson, severe summer drought and the seasonal mistral wind that has whipped flames across dry southern forests. After tour ing the area, Prime Minister Jacques Chirac proposed a two-year program to improve the region's ability to fight and prevent...

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