07 Nov

Forest Fires Destroy Woodlands, Olive Groves In Lebanon

Fires have destroyed dozens of hectares of woodlands across Lebanon, just weeks after earlier forest fires devastated mountainous parts of the country, an army spokesman said Wednesday.

“A total of 1,542 dunums (154 hectares) were destroyed on Tuesday and Wednesday morning, in addition to the 807 dunums (81 hectares) burnt on Monday,” the spokesman told AFP.

Emergency crews backed by army helicopters struggled to extinguish blazes that were still raging across southern and northern Lebanese mountains, as well as in the Shouf region southeast of Beirut, he said.

The flames have destroyed forests of pine and oak trees as well as olive groves, valleys and woods, but there were no reports of casualties.

Similar forest fires raged twice in October, killing one woman, injuring dozens of people and destroying hundreds of hectares of forests and woods across the country.

Experts have warned seasonal forest fires in Lebanon are further threatening to destroy the country’s natural wealth – among the richest in the Middle East.

Zeina Tamim, an agriculture ministry official, told AFP last month the seasonal forest fires were slowly destroying green zones which account for 23% of Lebanon’s territory.

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