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Morocco: Authorities battle flames destroying forest cover

Forest fires   -  
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Firefighters and emergency crews are responding to a wildfire on the outskirts of Tangier that broke out late on Thursday 10 August in the Rmeilat forest. The blaze spread toward homes in the northwest of Tangier on Friday, 11 August.

Canadair CL-415 planes are being used to put out the fires. A number of firefighting personnel, auxiliary forces and the authority's agents were also called upon in the field. Volunteers are also trying to help experts deployed.

The circumstances of the outbreak of the fire are unknown at a time when reports indicate that the current summer season will witness an unusual wave of fires due to the unprecedented rise in temperature.

"The Rmilat forest covers 300 hectares, and the fire broke out three days ago, affecting between 20 and 25 hectares. Thanks to this rapid intervention, the worst was avoided." says Saoud Abdel Malik, member of the Observatory for the Protection of the Environment.

"This year's fire is on the side of the mountain facing the sea, so the winds blowing from the sea and up the mountain form a circle. This fire is dangerous because it increases the strength of the fire, which is the opposite of what happened in previous years, when the fire was a little far from the sea" malik added.

Morocco's Center for Water and Forestry (ANEF) has identified an extreme risk (red level) of forest fires in several Moroccan provinces, and high (orange level) and medium (yellow level) risks for other regions.

The north African kingdom recently allocated $22 million for forest fire prevention and control.

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