Morocco firefighters battle infernos as villagers flee

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LARACHE: Hundreds of Moroccan firemen and soldiers fought late Thursday to extinguish at least four infernos raging through woods in the kingdom’s north, officials said.

According to official declarations, over 500 families were evacuated “as a precaution” in the provinces of Larache and Taza due to the flames, which were fueled by strong winds in the four districts.

According to an AFP journalist, military planes dropped supplies of water to quell fires raging across the arid countryside in several evacuated settlements.

Residents left their homes, shocked by how quickly the fires spread, with some families moving their cattle and horses — on which their livelihoods depend — ahead of them.

“I was with my family, and at one point, we heard people shouting, ‘Fire! Fire!'” claimed Larache resident Samir Boundad.

“We fled, and thankfully, thanks to God, the fire moved up the mountain.”

The flames completely destroyed a community in the Ksar El Kebir region.

Hundreds of civil defense personnel, soldiers, and police officials are attempting to prevent the fires from wreaking further devastation.

The fires blasted across difficult-to-access forestland in four provinces, according to Fouad Assali, head of the National Center for Forest Climate Risk Management.

“Efforts to put these flames under control continue,” Assali was reported as saying by the official MAP news agency.

According to preliminary assessments, at least 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres) of woodland have burned near Larache and Ouezzane since Wednesday night, leaving burnt trees smoldering under a sky shrouded by clouds of smoke.

The North African country, which is suffering from severe droughts, has recently been hammered by temperatures approaching 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit).

“This type of fire is caused by heat.” “The fire reached our village yesterday at daybreak,” Ahmed Mezouar, 58, a resident of Larache, told AFP, adding that he was hopeful that firemen would be able to put it out.

Still, he was concerned, because a nearby community had been fully engulfed in flames.

“We’re worried about our houses,” he remarked. “For the time being, we are safe.”

Wildfires are blazing across the Strait of Gibraltar in southern Europe, from Portugal and Spain to France and Greece.
According to scientists, extreme weather events such as heatwaves and droughts, which increase the likelihood of wildfires, are linked to climate change.

They are projected to become more common, longer-lasting, and intense in the future.

Source: AFP

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