In Morocco, violent forest fires kill one and displace hundreds

One person has died in fierce fires that have ravaged remote forested areas of northern Morocco since Wednesday, evacuating hundreds of families and destroying thousands of hectares of forest, authorities said on Friday (July 15). ).

Body of person with multiple burns found in one of the fires in the Larache region, according to a press release from the authorities.

In the provinces of Larache, Ouezzane, Tetouan, Taza and Chefchaouen, the most recently affected provinces, at least 2,000 hectares of forest – mainly oaks and conifers – have already been destroyed, according to a preliminary report on Friday evening. .

The rapid progress of the flames, fanned by gusts of up to 45 km/h, forced 1,156 families to evacuate 17. douars (“villages”) in the burned areas of Larache, where three major outbreaks persist.

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In the area of ​​Tétouan, near the port of Tangier on the Mediterranean Sea, about sixty houses have been set on fire and nearly a hundred head of cattle have been killed. As many as 247 people were evacuated. In Taza, 420 villagers had to leave their homes in eight douars.

Unusual drought and water stress

In addition to four Army Canadair water bombers and four crop sprayers, hundreds of civil defense, water and forest elements, the Royal Armed Forces (FAR) and the gendarmerie, assisted by local authorities and volunteers, were mobilized to attempt to stem the advance of the burning, noted an AFP photographer. Reinforcements have been sent to the affected areas.

In stifling heat, well over 40°C, surprised by the speed of the fire, villagers hastily left their homes, bringing cattle and horses with them if possible. “Last night I was with my family and at one point we heard people shouting, ‘Fire! Fire!” We went out to flee and luckily, thanks to God, the fire was aimed at the top of the mountain”testified Samir Boundad, a young man from Larache.

Morocco has been hit by a heat wave for several days, with temperatures approaching 45°C, in a context of extraordinary drought and water stress. Across the Strait of Gibraltar, fires are raging across southern Europe, from Portugal to Greece to Spain and France.

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“It is the heat that causes this kind of fire. It was at dawn yesterday that the fire reached our village, but we are confident that the firefighters will put it out.”Ahmed Mezouar, 58, a resident of Larache told AFP. “We are afraid for our homes. A nearby village was completely surrounded by fire. The residents have been evacuated by the fire brigade, for the time being we are safe from the fire”he reassured himself.

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The world with AFP

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