ALGERIA, Algeria (TodayNews) — Wildfires raging in Algeria have killed 25 people, including 10 soldiers, who tried to control the blaze in the face of strong winds and scorching summer temperatures, government ministries said Monday.
At least 1,500 people were evacuated, the interior ministry said, without elaborating.
The Interior Ministry reported 15 dead and 24 wounded. In addition, the Ministry of Defense later reported that 10 soldiers were killed and 25 injured while fighting fires in the resort area of Beni Xila, east of the Algerian capital.
It was not immediately clear over what period of time the victims occurred, but the fires have been raging for several days.
Wildfires, some of which were driven by strong winds, have spread through forests and farmland in 16 regions, sparking 97 fires in the North African country. The interior ministry said the largest and deadliest fires devastated the areas of Bejaia and Jijel – in the Kabil region east of Algiers – and Bouira, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) southeast of Algiers.
Firefighting operations included about 7,500 firefighters and 350 trucks on the ground, as well as air support.
Algeria is no stranger to summer wildfires.
At least 37 people died last August in wildfires near Algeria’s northern border with Tunisia.
A year earlier, authorities said dozens of people had died in the blazes, including soldiers called in to help fight fires in the village-dotted mountainous region of Kabile.
This summer, strong winds and alternating heatwaves have unleashed fierce fires in Greece and other Mediterranean countries.