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Morocco firefighters battle blazes as villagers flee

Locals try to extinguish small fires in a village near a wild forest fire in Morocco's northern region of Ksar Sghir on July 14, 2022.
FADEL SENNA / AFP
Locals try to extinguish small fires in a village near a wild forest fire in Morocco's northern region of Ksar Sghir on July 14, 2022. (Photos: AFP)
LARACHE, Morocco — Officials said that hundreds of Moroccan firefighters and soldiers battled Thursday to put out at least four infernos ripping through forests in the north of the kingdom.اضافة اعلان

An AFP journalist said several villages had to be evacuated ahead of the flames as military water-bomber planes dropped loads to extinguish the blaze.

In soaring temperatures and shocked by how fast the leaping flames spread, villagers fled their homes.



Some, where they could, herded their crucial cattle and horses upon which their livelihoods depend ahead of them.

The flames destroyed a village in the Ksar El Kebir region of the North African nation.

Fires fanned by strong winds broke out in the northern regions of Larache, Ouezzane, Tetouan, and Taza, said the head of the National Center for Forest Climate Risk Management.

"Efforts are continuing in the hope of bringing these fires under control in the next few hours," said Assali, quoted by the official MAP news agency.



At least 2,500 acres of forest have been burned since Wednesday night in Larache and Ouezzane, according to initial reports.

Hundreds of civil defense workers, as well as soldiers and police officers, are trying to stop the fires from causing more destruction.

Morocco, struggling under intense droughts, has recently been hit by soaring temperatures approaching 45 degrees Celsius.



Across the Strait of Gibraltar, wildfires are raging in southern Europe, from Portugal and Spain to France and Greece.

Scientists say extreme weather events such as heatwaves and droughts, which make wildfires more likely, are linked to climate change.

They are expected to become even more frequent, more prolonged, and more intense in the future.


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