ALGIERS, 28 February 2021 – Algeria has suffered 37 forest fires in the course of February 2021, according to the north African country’s Director-General of Forests, Ali Mahmoudi.
Citing the unsual occurrences of the fires in the middle of the winter season, Mahmoudi has described them as “arson and criminal acts of vandalism”.
“We have witnessed forest fires started by persons with bad intentions who took advantage of the high temperature (on 5, 6 and 11 February 2021) to set the green areas ablaze,” Mahmoudi said during an interview Thursday on state radio.
The three dates cited coincided with the blowing of the warm Sirocco wind which was marred by the fires in Sidi Bel Abbès i(north-west Algeria) n which two hectares of Aleppo pines were reduced to ash.
Fires also ravaged large areas in the governorates of Jijel and Bejaia in northeastern Algeria.
To counter frequent forest fires, especially in the summer and autumn seasons, the Algerian authorities have committed to strengthen fire-fighting and civil protection teams.
They plan investments in aerial forest surveillance drones and fire-extinguishing aircraft.
Algeria’s Forestry Department is also expecting to be supplied with 15 trucks and 80 new vehicles manufactured in the army factory in Algeria’s Tiaret governorate.