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Switzerland: Army deploys helicopters to fight forest fires

Associated Press logo Associated Press 28/12/2016
A fire fighting helicopter discharges water over the forest fires near Mesocco in Southern Switzerland, Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016. (Gabriele Putzu/Keystone,Ti-Press via AP) © The Associated Press A fire fighting helicopter discharges water over the forest fires near Mesocco in Southern Switzerland, Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016. (Gabriele Putzu/Keystone,Ti-Press via AP)

GENEVA — The Swiss army has deployed five Super-Puma helicopters to help fight forest fires in the south of the country.

The Defense Ministry said Wednesday that the military helicopters are supporting civilian firefighters.

Spokesman Roman Ruegg of the cantonal police said authorities were succeeding in getting the blaze under control.

The fires near Misox and Leventina started late Tuesday in mountainous terrain and strong, warm winds — known as foehn — have hampered fire-fighting efforts.

Swiss aviation authorities have banned other aircraft from flying over the affected areas for security reasons.

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