Two dead as forest fires spread in north Algeria

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Two people died and several others were injured in forest fires that were burning in 14 districts of northern Algeria on Wednesday, the emergency services said.

“Two women, a 58-year-old mother and her 31-year-old daughter, died in fires in Setif” where flames reached many homes and villages, said the civil protection agency in the northeastern city.


In Souk Ahras, farther to the east near Algeria’s border with Tunisia, people were seen fleeing their homes as fires spread before firefighting helicopters were deployed.

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Four people in Souk Ahras suffered burns and 41 others had breathing difficulties, the authorities said. Media reports said 350 residents had been evacuated.

“Thirty-nine fires are underway in 14 wilayas (administrative councils),” the civil protection agency said, noting that El Tarf, also bordering Tunisia, was the worst hit with 16 fires in progress.

Wildfires have claimed the lives of six people in Algeria so far this summer.

Algeria is Africa’s largest country but it only has 4.1 million hectares (10.1 million acres) of forest.

Each year the north of the country is affected by forest fires, a problem that has worsened due to climate change.

Last year, at least 90 people died in forest fires that ravaged northern Algeria, destroying more than 100,000 hectares of woodland.

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