Mideast wildfires kill 3, force thousands to leave homes

BEIRUT — Wildfires across the Middle East triggered by a heatwave hitting on the area have murdered three people, driven tens of thousands of people to leave their houses, and detonated landmines across the Lebanon-Israel boundary, state officials and media said Saturday.

The flames come amid an extreme heatwave that’s uncommon at this time of year.

Wildfires spread across various regions of Israel and the West Bank for another day Saturday, driven tens of thousands of people to flee their houses.

Among the hardest-hit states is war-torn Syria where fires have killed three people and left dozens experiencing breathing difficulties within the previous two days. The wildfires also burnt broad areas of woods, mostly from the central state of Homs and also the coastal state of Latakia.

With firefighters overwhelmed, some residents assisted them using primitive techniques like carrying water and pouring them onto the flame.

On Saturday, unique rain strikes were held in mosques around various sections of Syria imploring God to send rain to facilitate drought and prevent the flames.

Manager of the Forestry Department at Latakia Agricultural Department, Bassem Double, was quoted as saying by the state news agency, SANA, which the number of fires attained 85 on various websites.

Additionally in Latakia state, flames in President Bashar Assad’s hometown of Qardaha heavily damaged a building used as a storage to its state-owned tobacco firm, a part of which collapsed.

Back in Lebanon, firefighters endorsed by military helicopters fought fires in the nation’s north, south, and center. A significant fire at the southern village of Bater burnt tens of thousands of pine trees and has been getting near houses as it had been placed under control.

Along the boundary with Israel, flames were reported by Lebanon’s state news service in many villages, a number of them tripping explosions of land mines put across the heavily-guarded front.