Forest fires under control in Lebanon, Israel and Syria

Fires caused by heatwave have killed three people and forced hundreds to flee

epa08734527 A handout photo made available by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows firefighters in cooperation with the Civil Defense and locals working to extinguish a number of fires that have erupted in three Syrian provinces, 10 October 2020. According to media reports, the fires that broke out in the countryside of Latakia, Tartous and Homs provinces killed three persons and caused dozens to suffer from suffocation symptoms.  EPA/SANA HANDOUT  HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES
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Fires sparked by heatwaves in Lebanon, Syria and Israel were brought under control on Sunday after killing three people and forcing hundreds from their homes over the weekend.

On the third day of efforts to extinguish forest fires in Lebanon, a Lebanese Civil Defence source said the blazes were completely under control. Firefighting forces in Syria and Israel claimed blazes in their nations were also being managed.

Military and UNIFIL helicopters bearing water scooped from nearby reservoirs doused the flames near Safina Al-Qaytaa, Bazal, Bater, Deir El Harf and Ras El-Matn, the Lebanese Army announced on Twitter.

The devastation comes a year after forest fires destroyed swathes of mountainous forest in Lebanon, causing damage to the environment that will take decades to recover.

On the Syrian side of the border, fires were brought under control in the provinces of Homs, Tartus and Latakia, where at least three people died, according to the health ministry.

"Civil defence teams, supported by army units and the population, are now in control of all the fires in the province" of Latakia, governor Ibrahim Khader Al Salem said, quoted by state news agency Sana.

Firefighters were still on the scene trying "to cool the burned sites", he added.

A fire burns at a forest in Latakia province, Syria in this handout released by SANA on October 9, 2020. Picture taken October 9, 2020. SANA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.  REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE.
A fire burns in a forest in Latakia province, Syria. Sana via Reuters

Sana said all fires in Tartus had also been brought under control, and crews had managed to completely extinguish a fire in the Korb Ali forest in the western suburbs of Homs.

In Israel, fires fuelled by the heatwave were brought under control overnight Friday-Saturday, the firefighting service said.

"After more than 30 hours of firefighting, we have brought the main fires under control... (but) we remain vigilant," the fire service there said in a statement on Saturday.