Twenty-five fatalities in Algeria as North African heatwave triggers destructive wildfires

As a brutal heatwave blankets North Africa and southern Europe, forest fires have erupted in Algeria’s mountainous regions of Bejaia and Bouira, claiming the lives of 25 people, including 10 soldiers, on Monday. Algerian authorities are currently battling to control the flames that continue to consume the region. Approximately 7,500 firefighters are engaged in arduous efforts to control the blazes, the interior ministry stated. The operations are currently focusing on the regions of Boumerdes, Bouira, Tizi Ouzou, Jijel, Bejaia, and Skikda, according to Reuters.

Image used for illustrative purposes only, not of Algerian Wildfires

The severity of the wildfires has necessitated the evacuation of around 1,500 people thus far. The situation has been exacerbated by the sweeping heatwave across North Africa, which has seen temperatures rise to a staggering 49 Celsius (120 Fahrenheit) in some cities in Tunisia. The neighboring country of Tunisia has not been spared from the destruction either. Wildfires have surged through the border town of Melloula.

Reports suggest that fires originating in mountainous regions have reached residential areas, prompting hundreds of families to evacuate their homes. In response to the crisis, civil protection officials have commenced evacuation efforts for hundreds of Melloula’s residents. Both land and sea routes are being utilized for this purpose, with fishermen’s boats and coastguard vessels ferrying people to safety from the wildfire’s destructive path.