Residents flee Lebanon forest fire

Residents flee Lebanon forest fire

06 Dezember 2010

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Lebanon —  Authorities said on Sunday that numerous forest fires are threatening the village of Fatri, 45 kilometers north of Beirut. At least 150,000 square meters of woodland have been devastated.

The civil defense services said that 42 separate blazes were reported over the past week, four of them large.

Another large blaze is also raging on in Wadi Shahrur, close to the capital.

Lebanese army helicopters are trying to douse the flames from the air, while firefighters are battling the blaze on the ground in different parts fuelled by tinderbox conditions.

Municipal council leader Imad Daou said rough terrain is hampering the firefighting efforts while high winds have been fanning the flames.

“Olive groves and pines have been lost,” he told AFP, adding that the huge flames are also threatening to engulf the homes and frightened residents have fled their homes.

Lebanese President Michel Sleiman also travelled to the village of Fatri to inspect the firefighting efforts.

“We need three times more capacity to face these fires,” Interior Minister Ziad Baroud told reporters.

The blaze has claimed no lives, but six civil defense personnel have been injured.

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