Moroccan firefighters battle country’s largest wildfires

Moroccan firefighters have been battling wildfires that have ravaged forests in five northern provinces of the kingdom for over a week.

In the province of Larache, the largest fire is thought to cover nearly 5,300 hectares. Firefighters at the blaze brought it under control “at 70%”, while rescue workers are working to overcome the remaining five smaller fires according to local sources. A total of 1,331 families have been forced to evacuate from 20 douars (villages) and approximately 170 houses were destroyed in this region south of the port of Tangier. Currently one fatality has been recorded, as a result of the fires.

Rescue teams are currently in the process of controlling another active outbreak, which has devastated 400 hectares of pine and fruit tree plantations in the neighbouring province of Ouezzane.

Elsewhere in the country, firefighters and military personnel have been able to control forest fires in often hard-to-reach areas of the northern regions of Chefchaouen, Tetouan and Taza.

Morocco has been hit for a week by a heat wave, which is thought to be the root cause of the fires, and temperatures have approached 45 degrees Celsius. The heatwave has also come at a time of unusual drought and water stress in Morocco, putting added pressure onto the firefighting teams.

On the other side of the Strait of Gibraltar, devastating fires are also raging in southern Western Europe as a result of a heat wave that could bring down several temperature records early next week.

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