MAKKAH: Teams from Saudi Civil Defense are tackling a fire that broke out in the Ghulamah Mountains in Tanuma governorate, north of Asir on Wednesday night and have the blaze under control, according to a spokesman.
“The fire spread in the bushes and rugged forests due to the fast winds, but the teams were able to cordon off the area,” said captain Mohammed Al-Sayyed, Civil Defense spokesman in the Asir region, adding that no injuries were reported and the fire did not spread to residential areas.
Al-Sayyed said the fire began due to an “accident,” and was in a “very rugged area,” making it difficult to bring in machinery, so the fire was tackled by teams on foot.
The operation was carried out under the direct supervision of the Asir governor with the participation of all government and civil services, as well as teams from Al-Namas and Tanuma governorates.
He pointed out that the rapid intervention teams were deployed in areas close to residential neighborhoods in case the fire spread.
“No field hospital or precautionary measures were needed, as only one house was evacuated in Al-Dhahara village,” said Al-Sayyed, adding that housing units had been set up in a unified field command center for emergency teams arriving from outside the province.
The joint operations room monitored the traffic situation on the road adjacent to the fire, which links the governorates of Namas and Tanuma.
A number of businessmen in Tanuma have offered aid to families affected by the fire.
A member of the Hiking Asir volunteer team, Abdul Rahman Mesfer, told Arab News that an increase in wind speed after 9 p.m. on Wednesday amplified the intensity of the fire, which consequently changed course and spread.
“The efforts exerted by various government entities were great and reconnaissance aircraft established the extent of the fire,” he said. “Meanwhile, the foot teams cordoned off the flames and backup teams from the electricity company and support teams from the telecommunications companies were also present if needed.” He estimated that 85 percent of the fire was now under control.
“The fire has destroyed tens of thousands of perennial trees — including wild olives, neems, junipers and acacias — some of which are over 50 years old,” Mesfer added.