Lebanon battles new forest fires

Lebanon battles new forest fires

 24 October 2007

published by  www.iol.co.za

Beirut, Lebanon — Fires raged across hectares of woodland in northern andsouthern Lebanon on Wednesday, civil defence officials said, only weeks after anearlier forest fire devastated parts of the country.

Emergency crews backed by Lebanese army helicopters struggled to extinguishblazes which broke out on Tuesday in the mountainous northern regions of Qobayat,Ayto and Karm Saddeh, an official told AFP.

There are no reports of any casualties, police and civil defence authoritiessaid.

“The fires have been raging in all three regions since Tuesday,” theofficial added.

“Civil defence workers and army helicopters have been struggling toextinguish them, especially the one in Ayto because there are no roads leadingto the area,” he said.

Fires also spread across forests of pine and oak trees as well as valleys andwoods around Bisri, Sfaray and Mashmusheh in southern Lebanon, another civildefence official added.

“The fires are still raging and we are trying to prevent them from reachinghouses,” he said.

Defence officials said nearby Cyprus is due to send helicopters to help theLebanese firefighters battle the blazes.

Earlier this month, more than 2 500 hectares (6 200 acres) of woodland weredestroyed in fires that swept through several regions of Lebanon, leaving onewoman dead and dozens injured.

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