BEIRUT — A fire erupted in Rahba town in Akkar, North Lebanon, on Tuesday and is spreading to other areas as the country's Civil Defense forces struggle to extinguish the flames, L’Orient Today’s correspondent in the region reported.
"The fire is getting stronger, fueled by warm winds," said Talal Ayoub, head of the local fire station. "The civil defense, Lebanese Army and volunteers have succeeded in preventing the fire from reaching the cemetery hill," which is relatively close to the town's residential area.
Ayoub pointed out that "the fire extinguishing operation is facing great difficulty due to the rugged nature of the fire's location and the availability of only one civil defense vehicle."
Caretaker Environment Minister Nasser Yassin is following developments of the fire and called on the army to send a military helicopter to help with the effort to extinguish it.
Many regions in Lebanon are prone to wildfires, due to high temperatures and dry conditions in the summer. Fires have ravaged villages and ecosystems in previous years. Civil Defense teams and volunteer groups have been responding to extinguish fires, but suffer from a chronic lack of equipment as the country struggles with an ongoing economic collapse.
The fire-damaged areas are often plagued by illegal tree felling.
Reporting contributed by Michel Hallak