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Fireworks Blamed for Swiss Blaze

January 5, 2002

LODRINO, Switzerland (AP) _ Firefighters on Friday extinguished a fireworks-ignited forest fire which burned for more than three days in southern Switzerland.

The fire destroyed 123 acres of forest and pasture, said Marco Franzi, forestry head in the Italian-speaking canton (state) of Ticino. The area has not had rain for 52 days.

The fire was started by fireworks lit by a group of German tourists who were celebrating New Year at an Alpine hut, he said.

Franzi said firefighters had to extinguish the blaze from the air, because it burned at an altitude of up to 5,900 feet where water sources had dried out. Thirty firefighters and four helicopters were mobilized, he said.