Civil defense extinguish a forest fire in Betshai, Monday, May 5, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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Environment Minister Mohammad Machnouk warned Sunday that Lebanon would see a rise in temperatures this week, increasing the risk of forest fires.The head of the Lebanese Eco Movement, Paul Abi Rached, went a step further, saying from now until December there should be no open fires in Lebanon.Both Abi Rached and Fakhreddine stressed that members of the public should immediately report a fire regardless of whether or not they were involved in igniting the blaze.Abi Rached also claimed that, in desperate straits, a small fire can be smothered with live green tree branches.Moreover, as fires often spread by igniting dry brush, those who live near forests should clear undergrowth around their properties. More than 35 percent of the forest cover in Lebanon has deteriorated over the last 40 years, leaving just 13 percent of Lebanon forested, according to the Association for Forests, Development and Conservation.
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