Cyrenaica forest fires under control

Cyrenaica forest fires under control

23 May 2013

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Lybia — Forest fires in Cyrenainca’s Jebel Akhdar (Green Mountains) are now under “total” control, thanks in part to Italian firefighting planes, according to the government.

The fires broke out yesterday in different areas of the Jebel – at Lathron east of Sousa, Wasita west of Beida, as well as between Sousa and Labraq. According to Ayad Abdulhafiz of Shahat (Cyrene) firefighters, the fires that broke out in the woods near the villages of Belkna and Ahbun south of Sousa destroyed nearly fifty hectares of forest in the area.

He and his colleagues were unable to put out the fire, he said, because of the lack of firefighting equipment and the difficulty of the mountainous terrain.

An official with the National Safety Board in Derna, Abdel Azim Amtoul, said that the blaze in the Lathron area had destroyed four hectares of orchards.

Responding to the local appeal for help, the Libyan authorities requested Italy to send firefighting aircraft, the second time it has done so in just over a month.

At the beginning of April, two Canadair CL-415 water bombers from the Italian Civil Protection Department dropped 120,000 litres of sea water on a fire in woodland near Ras Hilal.

Two more water bombers were sent this morning, from Rome’s Ciampino airport and Lamezia in Calabria, and on arrival at Labraq immediately started operations in collaboration with local fire brigades.

The two-day April fire is thought to have been caused by arson. The cause of the latest fire is unknown.

The government said today that it is going to lease water bombers for use against forest fires in the short term but plans to untimately intends to purchase them.

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