Saturday, November 13, 2010

BEIRUT: Dozens of fires have erupted across Lebanon over recent days and the country is expected to face even higher, unseasonably warm, temperatures over the weekend.

Meanwhile, a toxic fire that occurred in Beirut earlier in the week involved illegally stored chemicals, according to the governor of Mount Lebanon.

A fire broke out near a landmine field in Hammana Friday, following a series of blazes in various parts of the country.

Civil Defense units worked to extinguish a fire that erupted in the area known as Shaghour, but were handicapped by the area’s proximity to a mine field.

Also Friday, fires broke out in the Mount Lebanon locations of Wadi Ghazir, Rishmaya, Dweir, Majdalya, Sharoun and Bteibat. The latter two blazes caused damage to 123 acres of fruit trees.

The Civil Defense said that its personnel were called into action on 62 separate firefighting missions Thursday.

Meanwhile Mount Lebanon Governor Antoine Suleiman said chemical materials stored in a basement in the Beirut suburb of Ain al-Remmaneh, where a devastating fire erupted earlier this week were done so illegally.

In a statement issued Thursday, Suleiman said the warehouse was being used “under a rent contract between the owner and the leaseholder … the third article of [which] clearly stated that the leaseholder did not have the right to place any heavy material or equipment that would damage the building, and could not store illegal substances or flammable material.”

Suleiman asked Baabda health authorities to inspect the site of the fire, because of the toxic nature of the fumes emitted, and requested that the issue be transferred to the General Directorate for Urban Planning and to the Environment Ministry.

A danger of forest fires remains for the coming days as the meteorological department at the Civil Aviation Department anticipated rising temperatures.

Temperatures will vary between 15 degrees Celsius and 28 degrees Celsius on the coast, 7 degrees Celsius and 26 degrees Celsius in the mountains, 9 degrees Celsius and 28 degrees Celsius in the Bekaa and 8 degrees Celsius and 19 degrees Celsius in the Cedars