Firefighters battle forest blazes in Japan

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A forest fire has broken out in a rural area north of Tokyo, close to another blaze which has been burning for four days.

One man suffered burns and was taken to hospital, said Hitomi Hirokami, an official in Kiryu in the Gunma prefecture, about 60 miles north-west of Tokyo.

News footage showed smoke billowing upwards from the hills.

Residents watch as a helicopter dumps water on a wildfire
Residents watch as a helicopter dumps water on a wildfire (Kyodo News via AP)

Firefighters were working on the ground, while military helicopters were dousing the area.

The two fires are not directly related, but the area has not had much rain lately, causing flames to spread, officials said.

An evacuation order for Ashikaga was first issued on Tuesday for about 50 households, underlining how the stricken area was growing.

A helicopter dumps water on a wildfire
A helicopter dumps water on a wildfire (Kyodo News via AP)

Three evacuation centres were set up with social distancing measures and everyone is wearing masks, officials said.

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