Residents of a Lebanese village started to flee on Sunday as a forest fire which has raged out of control for the past week approached their homes. Lebanon's President Michel Suleiman visited the village of Fatri, 45 kilometres north of Beirut to inspect attempts to control the blaze, which has devastated 150,000 square metres of woodland.
According to AFP, municipal council leader Emad Daou said that rough terrain hampered the firefighting effort while high winds had fanned the flames. The blaze has claimed no lives so far but six civil defence personnel have suffered minor injuries while combating it.
A civil defense official said the emergency services had to combat "numerous fires" in different parts of the country fuelled by tinderbox conditions. Helicopters belonging to the Lebanese army and special operations aircraft fire particiapted in the effort without success.
The mayor of Fatri conveyed that firefighting operations are difficult "because the lack of roads leading to the burning areas."