BEIRUT — The Lebanese Army sent helicopters to extinguish a fire that broke out early Thursday morning, for the second time this week, at a forest near the Tannourine Cedar Reserve in northern Lebanon, the Lebanese Army said in a Twitter post.
Earlier, caretaker Minister of Environment Nasser Yassine said in a radio interview that the efforts of a military helicopter on site were impaired by bad weather conditions, including wind and fog. A video published Thursday afternoon by the Army shows a helicopter operating without apparent difficulties.
According to the state-run National News Agency, local residents earlier urged authorities to intervene to prevent the fire's spread, fearing the fire could grow quickly due to heavy winds, and because the cedar reserve is located in a valley that is difficult to reach by vehicles. Residents rushed to the area to try to extinguish the fire themselves.
Due to an earlier fire in Tannourine that first broke out on Tuesday night, several areas have been damaged near the reserve, which is home to the country's iconic cedar trees.
A Civil Defense spokesperson told L'Orient Today that no cedar tree was burnt in either fire on Tuesday and Thursday.
On Tuesday, Lebanon's National Council for Scientific Research warned of an increased risk of fires, especially in the next three days, and urged residents to be vigilant and refrain from lighting fires near dry grass.
Many fires have broken out in Lebanon this summer. The Director of the Civil Defense Raymond Khattar had previously claimed that in Lebanon "95 percent of fires are caused by man, intentionally or otherwise."