Fires break out across Lebanon, leaving at least one dead
Several fires broke out on Saturday across Lebanon, killing at least one person according to Lebanese authorities. The victim, a foreign labourer, was killed as fires got dangerously close to a warehouse storing chemicals in the city of Jdeideh, north of Beirut.
The current series of fires have been largely attributed to heat, as temperatures remain relatively high across Lebanon despite the onset of autumn.
However Lebanese Interior Minister Bassam Maoulaoui told Lebanese media on Saturday that “some of the fires could have a criminal origin” and investigations are ongoing
fires were reported across the country, in the Akkar mountains, the Bekaa valley, and on Mount Jbeil north of Beirut
. Most were quickly extinguished but some lasted throughout the night, especially in the south of the country around the city of Tyre. They destroyed swathes of forest and fields and neared the villages of Hennieh, Zeqbine and Majdel Zoun.
Agriculture Minister Abbas Hajj Hassan called on the Lebanese army and UN forces stationed in the country to intervene to stop the fires.
The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) deployed troops in the south to support the Lebanese Civil Defence and volunteer firefighters.
فيديو يظهر جانباً من عمليات الإطفاء في احراج العذية، زبقين، القليلة، المنصوري، مجدلزون والحنية-صور بمؤازرة طوافة تابعة للقوات الجوية في الجيش اللبناني. pic.twitter.com/pKxPcgdJni— الدفاع المدني اللبناني (@CivilDefenseLB) November 13, 2021
These are not the first torrid fires that devastate Lebanon this year. In the Akkar mountains, hundreds of hectares of forest went up in flames this summer.
The fires were sparked by high temperatures and human activity, aggravated by the lack of means to respond. In the throes of a deep economic crisis, Lebanon lacks fuel, equipment and funding for its firefighting units.