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Morocco Braces For Forest Fires Amid Anticipated Heat Wave

13.06.2024 12:42

Moroccan authorities introduce series of preventive, technical measures to curb forest fires in summer.

A heat wave is raising concerns about the eruption of new wildfires in Morocco amid drought ravaging the North African nation for the sixth consecutive year.

Morocco has seen a rise in temperature in recent weeks.

Last month, the country's National Agency for Water and Forest warned of possible forest fires in summer due to prolonged heat waves.

Forests account for around 12% of Morocco's territory.

Last year, the country saw at least 466 forest fires due to high temperatures, destroying 6,424 hectares of forests.

Around 500 forest fires were also reported in Morocco in 2022 and destroyed some 1,620 hectares of forests, according to local authorities.

Preventive measures

Ecologists warn of a new wave of forest fires in Morocco amid rising temperatures.

"We expect an increase in forest fires during summer, especially in the north, due to high temperatures and drought," Shakeel Alam, a professor of science at the Moulay Ismail University in the eastern city of Errachida, told Anadolu.

He said drought and lack of rainfall are considered the main reasons for the wave of forest fires in the country.

"Drought and strong winds make it more difficult for firefighters to extinguish these wildfires," he added.

The Moroccan government has introduced a series of preventive and technical measures to prevent the eruption of new forest fires in the country.

According to the National Agency for Water and Forest, some 153 million dirhams ($15.3 million) have been allocated to provide the necessary equipment to curb the fires, purchase new fire engines and intensify land and aerial monitoring.

The agency also brought new firefighting aircraft, bringing the number of planes used to battle wildfires in Morocco to eight.

The Moroccan authorities have also set plans to strengthen coordination between the relevant authorities, including the army and civil defense agencies, to help in curbing the wildfires.

Joint training sessions were also held to raise the preparedness of firefighters in the North African nation.

Alam said Morocco also has agreements with several countries, including Portugal and Spain, to cooperate in battling forest fires.

He cited that the number of forest fires in Morocco in 2023 dropped by 70% compared to 2022.

"I'm confident now that Morocco is fully ready to control forest fires," he said.

*Writing by Ahmed Asmar -



 
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