forest fire continues to burn near Austrian tourist village

Vienna, Austria, (ANTARA News) - An ongoing forest fire near the village of Hallstatt, a popular Austrian tourist destination and UNESCO World Heritage site, has caused some houses to be evacuated as temperatures make the work of firefighters difficult.

Local media reported on Wednesday that the fire, begun near a resting place at the Echernwand climbing route Tuesday morning, is presently under control.

Dry forest and grasses caused by persistent hot weather of late are however continuing to provide fuel for the flames around the mountainous area where the fire originated, Xinhua said.

Fire crews including about 100 volunteer firefighters from the surrounding Salzkammergut region have been assisted by five helicopters that are transporting water from the nearby Lake Hallstatt in their efforts to contain the blaze.

Tumbling rocks caused by the heat of the fire have caused several residences in the valley below to be evacuated as a precaution, and the cable car that travels from the village up to the renowned salt mine has also been closed as a preventative measure.

Authorities are hoping for a reprieve on the weekend when the rain is forecast, accompanied by cooler temperatures.