Algeria’s president announced Tuesday night that 25 soldiers have been killed saving residents from the wildfires ravaging forests and villages east of the capital, adding to the fire death toll this week in the North African nation.
President Abdelmadjid Tebboune tweeted that the soldiers saved 100 citizens from the blazes in two areas in the mountainous Kabyle region, home of the Berbers. Four other soldiers were seriously burned fighting the fires and seven others also had burns, the Defense Ministry said.
At least seven local people were reported dead in the fires on Tuesday.
Dozens of blazes sprang up Monday in the mountainous Kabyle region and elsewhere, and Algerian authorities sent in the army to help citizens battle blazes and evacuate. Multiple fires were burning through forests and devouring the olive trees, cattle and chickens that provide the livelihoods of families in the Kabyle region.
The Kabyle region, 100 kilometers (60 miles) east of Algeria’s capital of Algiers, is dotted with difficult-to-access villages and has limited water. Some villagers were fleeing, while others tried to hold back the flames themselves, using buckets, branches and rudimentary tools. The region has no water-dumping planes.
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