By Hana Namrouqa – Nov 23,2016

AMMAN — Over 1,500 forest trees, some of which were centennial, were destroyed in a fire that erupted on Wednesday morning in Ajloun Governorate, according to the authorities.

The fire started at 7:30am and was extinguished five hours later, destroying 70 dunums of forest trees and dry grass, the Civil Defence Department (CDD) said.

“The fire eruoted in a forest in Safsafeh area located between Jerash and Ajloun governorates in the north. It took us five hours before we managed to put out the flames because the fire started in a rough part of the forest, making it difficult for our vehicles to have a fast and easy access to the site,” an official at the CDD’s press office told The Jordan Times.

Wednesday’s weather also helped the fire spread, the press officer said.

“The strong wind today fuelled the fire and helped the flames spread from one area to another,” he added.

Investigation into the cause of the fire is under way, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, which did not rule out arson.

“Investigation into the cause of this fire that damaged hundreds of forest trees is still underway, but initial indicators show that it is arson,” the ministry’s spokesperson, Nimer Haddadin, told The Jordan Times.

Also on Wednesday, the CDD dealt with a huge fire that erupted in Southern Shuneh near the Kafrain Dam.

Hundreds of banana trees planted on 300 dunums were burned in the fire, the official at the CDD press office said.

“The strong winds today caused one of the power cables to fall, thus causing the fire,” he noted.