Beirut (Associated Press)-On Wednesday, a wildfire raged in a forested area in the mountains of northern Lebanon. The fire spread to some homes. A 15-year-old boy who was helping firefighters to put out the fire was killed, the Civil Defense and National News Agency said.
The civil defense organization stated that firefighters, military helicopters and civilians were fighting wildfires near the village of Qobayat in Akka Province. The wildfires burned for several hours and spread to nearby areas.
Later that day, the fire was still spreading to houses on the edge of the mountain. The Lebanese Red Cross stated that it evacuated 17 people and sent 8 people to hospital for emergency services. The Red Cross stated that at least 25 residents were receiving treatment at the scene.
Lebanese caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab called on neighboring Cyprus to provide emergency assistance. Earlier this month, a three-day bushfire broke out there, described as the most destructive fire in the country’s 61-year history as an independent republic.
The Kubayat region is described by many as having one of the most beautiful forests in Lebanon, with oak, pine and cedar trees.
The Lebanese Civil Defense Department stated that the fire destroyed most of the forest. The state-owned National News Agency said the fire had spread more than seven kilometers (four miles) and two kilometers (1.2 miles) deep, and has burned tens of thousands of pine trees so far.
The Civil Defense Department stated that a young man who helped put out the fire was injured and died. NNA later said he was 15 years old. Fire trucks were dispatched from the capital Beirut.
Lebanon suffered a devastating wildfire that lasted for more than two days in October 2019, and it spread from the mountainous area of Coff to the outskirts of the capital Beirut. Lack of equipment and preparation, combined with high temperatures and squally winds, caused fires to ravage and destroy acres of forest.
The government’s handling of the fire was one of the factors that triggered national protests later that month, initially because of the government’s arbitrary economic policy.