“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?