Europe 1 with AFP 4:50 p.m., August 20, 2022

If most of the forest fires, which have ravaged northern Algeria in recent days, are almost all under control, more than 10,000 hectares of the national park of El Kala, classified by UNESCO, went up in smoke according to a expert.

A total of 38 people have died since the outbreak of these fires.

The forest fires that have ravaged northern Algeria in recent days are almost all extinguished, firefighters said on Saturday, while more than 10,000 hectares of El Kala national park went up in smoke, according to an expert.

"In the last 48 hours, firefighters have intervened on 51 fires", in 17 departments, and they are still fighting two fires in Tlemcen, in the west of the country, indicates Algerian civil protection on its Facebook account.



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The human toll from the gigantic fires on Wednesday and Thursday in the north of this Maghreb country rises according to official data to 37 dead, while local media report a 38th victim, a 72-year-old man in Guelma (east). ).

Several people are also missing.

In the northeast, the El Kala National Park, endowed with a unique ecosystem in the Mediterranean basin and classified as a biosphere reserve by Unesco, has seen more than 10,000 hectares go up in smoke in recent days, said to AFP academic Rafik Baba Ahmed.

"An exceptional biological richness"

Considered one of the main reservoirs of biodiversity in the Mediterranean basin, this park with a total area of ​​nearly 80,000 hectares is home to several hundred species of birds, mammals and fish which give it "an exceptional biological richness". , underlines Rafik Baba Ahmed who was director of this park.

The academic says he is "pessimistic" for the future of the park because "over time, the fires weaken the forest, making it vulnerable to other attacks such as those from harmful insects, but above all human activities".

Every summer, the north of Algeria is affected by forest fires, a phenomenon which is accentuated from year to year under the effect of climate change, leading to droughts and heat waves.

The largest country in Africa, Algeria has only 4.1 million hectares of forest, with a very low rate of reforestation (1.76%).