Posted by: r.m. | October 21, 2008

fire. forests.

Over a period of two days (October 14 and 15) some 70 fires were recorded in widespread areas of Lebanon. The worst took place in the Chouf Mountains, particularly in Iqlim al-Kharroub, where much of the green areas were destroyed by the uncontrolled fires.  Twenty million square meters of forest areas were lost, adding to millions more lost earlier this summer. The loss could have been much greater had it not been for the heavy rain that intervened to save the situation. Available information indicates that the area of Lebanon’s green forests… has dropped to a mere 13 percent of the country’s total area. If this trend continues we might end up with a “Lubnan al-ajrad” instead of “Lubnan al-akhdar.”

What puzzles most people is that, over the years, the authorities had failed to deal with this serious problem despite recurring destructive fires in recent years. As most forest areas are not accessible by roads it is obvious that the only way to effectively combat forest fires is by special airplanes, like the ones borrowed or leased from Italy and Cyprus in the last couple of years. While the army’s helicopters performed creditably in combatting fires, they do not substitute for special planes that are equipped for this purpose. Furthermore, local authorities must be provided with the means to combat fires, whether by providing them with special vehicles, trained personnel (including volunteers), and sufficient water.”


But that is only one part of the issue.

What are other parts of the issue?



  1. I am not quite sure about that, but I heard many sceptics saying that by transforming forest areas, which are protected and cannot be used for constructions and thus investment purpouses, into “ecologically inert” zones, certain land owners see themselves in the capacity of taking advantage of their once doomed lands.
    So, are some of those fires intentionally caused and then not dealt seriously with??
    This is a really scary perspective, but nevertheless a plausible one (at least in Lebanon).
    At this point, I can only speculate…

  2. The problem in Lebanon that all the man working in fire fighting are volunteers which makes it impossible for them to be available all the time. Also the equipments they have aren’t that efficient because the budget given to them is what remains from the government budget and we all know how much remains in Lebanon. In the other hand the new government and specially the new minister is working and rising money for buying new equipments and airplanes. Also what Marc said is very important. Last yest many questions were raised on if the fires in Lebanon are actually caused. The reasons back than we were political but what Marc just mentioned are new reasons to be considered..

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