BEIRUT: Firefighters had contained a wildfire in Chouf's Debbieh Saturday afternoon, Civil Defense announced, although swaths of Lebanon remained at high risk of blazes due to hot, dry weather.
The fire was "under control," Civil Defense head Raymond Khattar said of the blaze that broke out earlier in the day.
“The Debbieh fire is under control and there is no need to panic,” Khattar told LBCI.
After failing to put out the fire, which had been blazing since before noon, firefighters brought in an Army helicopter to help extinguish it. Firefighting trucks were also sent from Beirut to help the Civil Defense force.
“The [Civil Defense] personnel are facing difficulties to control the fire as the difficult weather conditions are causing the fire to spread to the nearby trees,” the agency said in a statement.
With Lebanon facing far hotter temperatures than average and low humidity, Civil Defense had warned of the risk of wildfires.
Temperature highs in November usually average 24 degrees Celsius, a source at Beirut airport’s meteorological department previously told The Daily Star.
Civil Defense shared a map Friday showing where fires are likely to happen. Areas in north and south Lebanon were placed at medium-high risk of wildfires for Friday and Saturday, while other districts remained at medium risk.
Sunday, Tripoli, Beirut and south Lebanon are rated to be at high risk of wildfires. Areas in north Lebanon, Chouf, Aley, Western Bekaa and surrounding districts will have medium to high risk of wildfires.
Temperatures Saturday reached highs of 25 degrees in Lebanon’s mountains. They topped 32 degrees in coastal cities.
However, humidity is between 35 to 60 percent and wind speeds are between 15 to 35 kilometers per hour – increasing the danger of wildfires.
Last month, a combination of high temperatures and wind speeds caused the worst wildfires Lebanon had seen in decades, destroying hectares of green mountain and causing hundreds to flee their homes.