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Morocco tackles wildfires as Algeria placed on ‘high alert’

July 18, 2022 at 1:15 pm

Morocco is tackling a number of serious wildfires in the country of an unprecedented size and intensity, a local official has confirmed. Fouad Al-Assali, the head of the National Centre for Climate and Forest Risk Management at the National Agency for Water and Forests, told M24 TV that around half of the fires have been brought under control.

“Around 4,600 hectares of land are affected by the fires,” explained Al-Assali. “Our efforts continue in order to contain all of the outbreaks as soon as possible.” He added that more than 1,200 firefighters are working on the ground.

Morocco faces forest fires every year. Around 12 per cent of the country is forest, and there have been 165 wildfires between the start of the year and 13 July.

According to the Moroccan News Agency, the firefighting teams in the province of Ouazzane managed to contain the fire on Sunday afternoon that had broken out in the Jabal Amaziz forest. Pine trees, fruit trees and secondary plants were destroyed across 400 hectares, but there were no reported human casualties.

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The news agency also reported that firefighting teams in the Tetouan region managed yesterday to control the northern front of the fire in the Beni Idder forest in the region, while efforts are continuing on the western front. Almost 33 hectares of land is affected, but measures have been taken to ensure the safety of residents in the vicinity of the affected area.

The authorities in Algeria, meanwhile, declared a state of high alert yesterday as a result of the fires which have broken out in neighbouring Morocco, Portugal, Spain and France.

“Given the climatic conditions characterised by high temperatures, which may facilitate the outbreak of forest fires, we are declaring a state of high alert,” said the Agriculture Ministry in Algiers. “With the activation of the national plan for prevention and firefighting … all officials and relevant authorities must mobilise to avoid or face any emergency within 24 hours.”

Last year six Algerians were killed in forest fires in the states of Setif and Skikda.

On high alert amid the extreme heat, Europe and the US fight to douse fires [Tutku Umaç/Anadolu Agency]

On high alert amid the extreme heat, Europe and the US fight to douse fires [Tutku Umaç/Anadolu Agency]