SIDON, Lebanon: A forest fire erupted Monday in the southern Sidon town of Maghdouche, prompting a nearby school to evacuate students. One soldier, sent in to help response efforts, was injured.
Civil Defense and firefighters from the city of Sidon were dispatched just after noon when the fire, which caused thick plumes of white smoke to blanket the sky, erupted in the forests of Maghdouche.
Students and teachers at the nearby Al-Aila School were evacuated as a precautionary measure.
The Army was dispatched later in the day to reinforce response crews in the area. A helicopter was sent in as part of the Army effort.
Efforts to extinguish the fire have been hampered by strong winds and residents fear any further spreading of the flames could put endanger their homes.
A Lebanese soldier, injured while trying to contain the fire, was transferred to a local hospital. Other soldiers who were trapped by the encroaching flames were also rescued.
Agriculture in the town, known for its grape vineyards and olive trees, has been affected.