Fires that broke out in the forests of Souk Ahras province from June 1 until last Thursday destroyed 465 hectares of forests, according to what was learned Saturday from the forestry department.
Governor Baroudi Belhoul indicated that this area was destroyed by the outbreak of 17 fires, distributed over 212.25 hectares of forests, 190.50 hectares of jungle, and 62.25 hectares of bushes, adding that these fires were recorded in the southern regions of this border province, especially the forests of the municipalities of Ouled Moumen, Ouilane, Zaarouriya and Taoura, known for their difficult terrain and the quality of their forests made up of Aleppo pine, known for its rapid inflammation.
The same spokesman pointed out that most of these 17 fires were recorded during the month of July, notably the days that were marked by high temperatures exceeding 43 degrees Celsius, accompanied by moderate to strong multi-directional winds, which made difficult – he added – the operations of the intervention of firefighters from both the forestry department and civil protection.
The Forestry department mobilized 153 agents to put out these fires, including 82 maintenance agents and 44 intervention agents, as well as 32 security guards through 10 watchtowers distributed across sensitive forest blocks in the province, according to the same source.
For the first time, the province of Souk Ahras witnessed a great solidarity campaign, as a number of residents near the forest blocks and civil society activists participated in the firefighting operations, the supply of drinking water and even catering, with the contribution of the provincial authorities and heads of the concerned departments and municipalities.
Moreover, in-depth investigations were opened by the services of the National Gendarmerie, in coordination with the technical staff of the province, to search and investigate the real causes of these fires.
It is worth recalling that forests area in the province of Souk Ahras is estimated at 96 thousand hectares, which represents 22 percent of the total area of the province estimated at 436 thousand hectares.