Algiers, 11 August 2021 (dpa/MIA) – Thirty-two people died in wildfires raging in Algeria on Tuesday.
Twenty-five soldiers were killed as they tried to rescue people from wildfires burning in the regions of Tizi Ouzou and Bejaia, east of the capital Algiers, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune tweeted on Tuesday evening.
The soldiers who died had managed to save more than 100 people from the flames, Tebboune said.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Algerian civil defence authority said at least seven people had been killed in Tizi Ouzou province, some 150 kilometres east of the capital Algiers.
Two people were seriously injured, it added.
State radio reported that some houses were completely destroyed, and al-Bilad newspaper reported that schools in Tizi Ouzou province were receiving citizens displaced by the fires.
Forest fires continue to spread in the North African country.
Al-Bilad reported that civilians have volunteered to help civil defence teams, who have been working on putting out fires since Monday.
In total, 103 fires have broken out in 17 regions across the country, state news agency APS reported, citing the forestry authority.
Some 22 fires were raging in the evening in Tizi Ouzou alone.
Homes have been reduced to rubble by the fires, local media reported. Hotels were ordered to provide accomodation to people whose homes had burned.
Trucks carrying tents, beds, medicine and food were expected to leave Algiers for Tizi Ouzou on Tuesday evening.
Algerian Prime Minister Ayman Ben Abdel Rahman said the fires had been started deliberately, in comments to state television.
Three people suspected of arson were arrested in the province of Medea, 80 kilometres west of Algiers, according to media reports.
Temperatures are soaring throughout the country, reaching well over 40 degrees Celsius, in a heat wave forecast to continue for the time being, adds further detail.