Algeria battles wildfires with 2 French firefighter planes

Aug 11, 2021, 7:21 PM | Updated: Aug 12, 2021, 3:25 pm
In this photo taken Wednesday, Aug.11, 2021, smoke invites the mountains after wildfires in the vil...

In this photo taken Wednesday, Aug.11, 2021, smoke invites the mountains after wildfires in the village of Larbaa Nath Irathen, neat Tizi Ouzou, in the mountainous Kabyle region, 100 kilometers (60 miles) east of Algeria's capital of Algiers. Wildfires in Algeria that already have killed at least 69 people burned through the mountainous Berber region as the North African country contended Thursday with a heat wave like the ones fueling fires in Southern Europe. (AP Photo/Fateh Guidoum)

(AP Photo/Fateh Guidoum)

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — Algeria’s president says five firefighting planes from European countries are expected by Saturday to help battle wildfires that killed at least 69 people through the mountainous Berber region, amid a heat wave like the ones fueling fires in Southern Europe.

Two French water-dropping airplanes on Thursday joined the effort to tame the fires in the Kabyle region, one day after Algeria appealed to the European Union Civil Protection framework for help.

President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said Thursday in a televised address to the nation that two other planes from Spain are expected on Friday and another from Switzerland on Saturday.

In response to criticism over the slow response from the state, he said that Algeria “mobilized all the means of the military, the Civil Protection, forests’ services, but all these means happened to be insufficient given the multitude of fires.”

The victims of the blazes include at least 28 soldiers who were deployed to fight the fires, according to authorities.

Tebboune said a “solidarity fund” will provide some financial aid to families affected by the fires, which have destroyed homes, olive groves and animals that provide a livelihood for the region.

He said authorities believe that the blazes started from illegal activity, especially in the Kabyle region.

“The heat wave is part of it, but we have formal evidence that criminals have set devastating fires and 22 people have been arrested by security forces.”

Tebboune declared a three-day mourning period for the fire victims starting Thursday.

Prime Minister Aïmene Benabderrahmane, who visited on Thursday Tizi-Ouzou, the regional capital of Kabyle, said “for the moment, the most important is to extinguish (the fires) and above all, to take care of the population.”

Like southern Europe, North Africa has been sweltering under searing heat. Temperatures hit 50 C (122 F) in Tunisia, a record high for the country. The last previous high was 48.2 C (nearly 119 F) in 1968.

Algeria’s National Meteorology Office said extremely hot weather was forecast through Thursday in nearly a dozen regions, including around Tizi-Ouzou. In some places, the temperature was expected to hit 47 degrees Celsius (116.6 F.)

Climate scientists say there’s little doubt climate change from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas is driving extreme events such as heat waves, droughts and wildfires, which they say are likely to happen more frequently as Earth warms.

___

Follow AP’s coverage of climate change issues at https://apnews.com/hub/climate-change

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - A Boeing 747-8, Boeing's new passenger plane, takes its first flight, Sunday, March 20, 2011...
Associated Press

Boeing’s last 747 to roll out of Washington state factory

After more than half a century, Boeing is set to roll its last 747 out of a Washington state factory on Tuesday.
16 hours ago
(AP Photo/Paula Bronstein, File)...
Associated Press

Inslee touts new housing program for Spokane’s homeless

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee was in Spokane Monday to preview the opening of a new housing project for homeless people, calling the Catalyst Project a step toward ending the state’s homelessness crisis.
16 hours ago
Former first lady Melania Trump, left, and Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., center, listen as former ...
Associated Press

Cawthorn broke rules over ‘meme’ crypto, told to pay $14K

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Departing U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina has been told to pay over $14,000 to charity after the House Ethics Committee found he financially benefited while purchasing a cryptocurrency that he was promoting and violated conflict of interest rules. The investigation examined the one-term Republican’s purchase of LGB Coin, named […]
16 hours ago
Associated Press

Judge orders slaughterhouse cleaners not to hire minors

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A federal judge ordered a Wisconsin company that cleans hundreds of slaughterhouses nationwide to ensure it is complying with child labor laws after investigators identified at least 50 minors scrubbing and sanitizing dangerous equipment on overnight shifts at five different meatpacking plants in three states. As part of an agreement with […]
16 hours ago
Associated Press

Greek Orthodox church at World Trade Center opens at last

NEW YORK (AP) — More than two decades after a tiny Greek Orthodox church in lower Manhattan was destroyed by the falling south tower of the World Trade Center, that church’s far grander replacement opened to the public this week in an elevated park overlooking the rebuilt trade center’s memorial plaza. The new St. Nicholas […]
16 hours ago
A woman holds up a sign while taking part in a demonstration about the use of robots by the San Fra...
Associated Press

San Francisco police can’t use deadly robots for now

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco supervisors voted Tuesday to put the brakes on a controversial policy that would let police use robots for deadly force. The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to explicitly ban the use of robots in such fashion for now. But they sent the issue back to a committee for further […]
16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Algeria battles wildfires with 2 French firefighter planes