BEIRUT — A major fire that broke out Thursday night in the forested areas around the town of Btormaz in the North governorate was brought under control Friday morning, L’Orient Today’s correspondent in the region reported.
The fire reportedly reached the vicinity of the houses in the area, with strong winds helping to expand the blaze. Some residents fled their homes temporarily for safety.
The head of the Civil Defense Center in nearby Bakhoun was reportedly injured during the efforts to put out the fire. The cause of the blaze remains unknown.
Caretaker Environment Minister Nasser Yassin tweeted Friday that “after strenuous efforts that continued since the night hours to put out the fire, the fire is now being cooled down and controlled by the volunteers of the Civil Defense centers with the support of the Emergency and Relief Agency and the responder teams, and with the local citizens.”
He concluded by warning that due to climate change, such fires begin in March.
Many forest fires occur annually in Lebanon, especially during the summer and autumn seasons, and are often caused by humans. Yassin has previously stated that those fires are often man-made.
The north and Akkar are particularly prone to forest fires and is home to large swaths of green areas. Civil Defense teams and volunteer groups often intervene to extinguish fires but are frequently struggling with an equipment shortage due to the unprecedented economic crisis in the country.
Organizations such as the National Council for Scientific Research in Lebanon (CNRS) warn of the increased risk of fires spreading in the country.
Reporting contributed by Michel Hallak.
Correction: A previous version of this article erroneously stated that Dinnieh is located in Akkar governorate.