Massive wildfires rage in Lebanon, arson suspected

Some officials called out the Lebanese government for not responding better to the emergency situation.

Firefighters battle a wind-driven wildfire called the Saddle Ridge fire in the early morning hours Friday in Porter Ranch, California, U.S., October 11, 2019. (photo credit: GENE BLEVINS / REUTERS)
Firefighters battle a wind-driven wildfire called the Saddle Ridge fire in the early morning hours Friday in Porter Ranch, California, U.S., October 11, 2019.
(photo credit: GENE BLEVINS / REUTERS)
Over 103 fires have spread throughout the Chouf region of Lebanon, south of Beirut, forcing locals to evacuate their homes on Tuesday, according to Lebanon's National News Agency (NNA).
Minister of Environment Fadi Jreissati said that that the fires were caused by arson and is calling for severe punishments for the perpetrators.
The fires have continued to spread due to unseasonably high temperatures and high winds.
More than 100 firefighters from 20 stations are working with the Lebanese army to extinguish the flames, according to Arab News.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri stated that he had contacted European countries for help, according to the London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat. Cypriot helicopters helped extinguish the fires on Tuesday, according to the NNA. Greece is also expected to send aircraft to help fight the fires.


One person died of a heart attack while helping to battle the flames. Otherwise, there have been no reports of casualties.
Some officials called out the Lebanese government for not responding better to the emergency situation.
"Firefighting aircraft are without maintenance, while the extravagance of the public funds is not affected. We call for a state of emergency to control fires," tweeted Former Minister Major General Ashraf Rifi.


"At the hands of Interior Minister Raya Al-Hassan and the state apparatus of civil defense, internal security forces, army and citizens were recruited to extinguish fires," added Rifi.