In Morocco, forest fires are contained or under control

In Morocco, forest fires are contained or under control

Moroccan firefighters say they have brought the blazes that have been raging for a week under control, but hot weather could cause the flames to flare up.

The forest fires that have been devastating forested regions of northern Morocco since last week have been contained or under control since Sunday evening, according to local authorities.

One ​​of the last outbreaks, which devastated 500 hectares, half of which was forest cover, was brought under control Monday in the province of Tetouan, near Tangier, local sources said.

During x27;an intervention Sunday in the same area, a Turbo Thrush spray plane made an emergency landing, without the pilot being injured.

Elsewhere, fire-fighting crews tackled major fires, particularly in the worst-affected province of Larache, where one person died.

According to the x27;National Water and Forests Agency (ANEF), the total area damaged by the fires reached 6,600 hectares until Sunday.

By comparison, 2,782 hectares of forest had been destroyed by 285 fires from January to September 2021, particularly in the mountainous Rif region (north).

Twenty douars (villages) were evacuated as a precaution to often remote areas.

Morocco is not out of the woods, however, as the national meteorology predicts a heat wave, with temperatures ranging between 41°C and 46°C until the end of the week in several provinces.

For Saïd Chakri, an environmentalist quoted by the MAP agency, these fires are largely due to human causes, but the reality of climate change has contributed to it.

In addition to five bombers Canadair water tankers from the army and eight Turbo Thrush aircraft from the gendarmerie, 2,000 elements from the Civil Protection, Waters and Forests, Royal Armed Forces (FAR) and the Gendarmerie, assisted by local authorities and volunteers were mobilized to stop the advance of the flames.

For the first time, ANEF drones were used to detect outbreaks of ;fires.

Morocco has been hit since last month by scorching temperatures, in a context of extraordinary drought and water stress.

Across the Strait of Gibraltar, devastating fires continue to rage in southwestern Europe as a result of a wave of e heat which broke several temperature records on Monday, in France in particular.

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