Algiers, (UrduPoint/Pakistan Point News – August 19, 2022): The fires that killed at least 38 people and wreaked havoc this week in northeastern Algeria are now under control, a local official told AFP on Friday. responsible for civil protection.
“All the fires have been completely brought under control,” said firefighter colonel Farouk Achour, from the civil defence.
Since the start of August, nearly 150 fires have destroyed hundreds of hectares (acres) of forest in Africa’s largest country.
Algerian forests have become the scene of hard-to-control annual summer fires as climate change exacerbates a long-lasting drought.
The Justice Ministry launched an investigation after Interior Minister Kamel Beldjoud suggested some of this year’s fires were set deliberately, and authorities announced four arrests of suspected arsonists on Thursday.
Officials have been accused of being ill-prepared, with few firefighting planes available despite record numbers of victims in last year’s fires and a financial windfall from gas exports as prices soar energy worlds.
Authorities said they deployed more than 1,700 firefighters on Wednesday and Thursday to tackle the widespread blazes.
The dead included more than 10 children and a similar number of firefighters, according to multiple sources, including local journalists and firefighters.
Most were in the El Tarf region, near Algeria’s eastern border with Tunisia, an area that earlier this week was sweltering in 48 degrees Celsius (118 Fahrenheit) heat.
Among the victims were five members of the same family who perished in the flames around the mountainous area of Souk Ahras.