Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 26 November 2020

Bushfires break out in Saudi Arabia's Asir region

Residential areas are not under threat, the Civil Defence says

Bushfires broke out in Saudi Arabia's Asir region on October 21. Twitter / @ArabiaWeatherSA
Bushfires broke out in Saudi Arabia's Asir region on October 21. Twitter / @ArabiaWeatherSA

Saudi Civil Defence teams continued to battle a huge bushfire that started on Jabal Ghulamah, a mountain on the Sarawat mountain range that is between the southern cities of Tanumah and Al-Namas.

The Civil Defence said in a tweet on Thursday that the firefighters had managed to put out about 70 per cent of the blaze.

The fire broke out on Wednesday night and spread rapidly due to strong winds and the woodland cover.

Capt Muhammad Al Sayed, spokesman for the Civil Defence in the Asir region, said there were no reports of casualties as the bushfire had yet to reach residential areas.

An operations centre was set up in Tanumah to co-ordinate the teams fighting the blaze, with additional firefighters being sent from neighbouring provinces to provide assistance.

Several teams were positioned near residential areas to protect them, he told Al-Akhbariya media outlet.

Pictures and videos posted on social media showed flames and smoke covering the mountain slopes.

“Tanumah’s fire” became the most popular hashtag in the kingdom as Twitter users expressed concern about the rapid spread of the blaze, which had already affected large areas.

“We are praying to keep our people in Tanumah safe and keep all evil away from them,” said Saudi Twitter user Fahad Zaidan.

Another Saudi citizen uploaded a video of the fire and said that “it is a very terrifying sight, O God, be kind with people of Tanuma and wishing the end of this fire without harm".

Known for its temperate weather, Tanumah has juniper woodlands, green mountain slopes and waterfalls, and is home to ancient structures.

Its grassy patches – ideal for setting up a tent for a few days, hang a hammock between beautiful trees and cook food over an open fire while enjoying clear skies – are a big draw for campers while the Sarawat mountain range offers incredible views and trees that provide shade during sunny days.

Updated: October 22, 2020 11:21 PM

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