Civil defence units have registered more than 150 fires during the last two days in a number of northern provinces in Algeria, during an intense heat wave affecting most of the provinces, most notably Blida, Tizi Ouzo, Béjaïa, Boumerdès, Skikda, and El Taref.
Assistant Director of Statistics and Information, Colonel Ashour Farouk, said in a statement for Algerian radio on Thursday that the fires are affecting forests in the mountains, jungle and agricultural crops, especially fig and olive trees, and grape vines. He added that the fires have burned more than 888 hectares of forest in the past 24 hours. He revealed that in the period between 1 June and 26 July, a total of 1028 fires were reported, resulting in the destruction of 2423 forested areas, 2682 hectares of jungle, 1347 hectares of agricultural crops and more than 118,000 fruit-bearing trees. The spokesperson attributed the cause of these fires to “the high temperatures and wind speed” which greatly contributed to the outbreak of the fires, and their rapid advancement, which has forced the civil defence and the security forces to cooperate, under the command of Algerian army forces, to rescue the lands from the flames.
The Algerian civil defence has called on civilians to “adhere to preventative rules to avoid sun stroke, due to the high temperatures expected in coming days”, with forecasters predicting a significant increase in temperature.
Doctors have issued instructions to avoid exposure to sun rays, especially for children, the elderly, and people with chronic illnesses, stay in shade as much as possible, avoid journeys unless when absolutely necessary, and to only go out in the early morning or late evening, particularly in the inland provinces.
Specialists also stressed the importance of drinking water regularly, especially children and the elderly, and not to wait for thirst to strike.
It is worth mentioning that Algeria witnessed dozens of fires across a number of provinces in the month of July, resulting in the destruction of thousands of hectares of agricultural land and elimination of animal resources, especially in Tizi Oubo, Boumerdès, and Jijel, while the Algerian government pledged to provide material compensation to those afflicted.
The heat in Algeria has also caused the repeated interruption of power lines, because of the widespread consumption of electricity for air conditioning and cooling devices, which prompted the Algerian Electrical and Gas Company to issue guidelines to citizens on reasonable consumption.
Translated by Conor Fagan
Original article can be found here.