ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — Wildfires raging in Algeria have killed 25 people, including 10 soldiers who tried to contain the flames despite high winds and scorching summer temperatures, ministries said Monday.
At least 1,500 people were evacuated, the interior ministry said, without giving details.
The Interior Ministry announced 15 dead and 24 injured. In addition, the Defense Ministry later announced that 10 soldiers were killed and 25 injured fighting fires in the resort town of Beni Ksila east of the capital Algiers.
It was not immediately clear in which period the victims fell, but the fires had been raging for several days.
Wildfires, some spread by high winds, swept through forests and agricultural areas in 16 regions, sparking 97 fires in the North African country. The largest and deadliest fires destroyed parts of Bejaia and Jijel — in the Kabyle region east of Algiers — and Bouira, about 100 kilometers (60 mi) southeast of Algiers, the interior ministry said.
Operations to contain the fires involve some 7,500 firefighters and 350 trucks on the ground, as well as close air support.
Algeria is no stranger to summer wildfires.
Last August, at least 37 people were killed when wildfires broke out near Algeria’s northern border with Tunisia.
A year earlier, authorities said dozens were killed in fires, including soldiers called in to help fight the blazes in the mountainous Kabyle area, which is dotted with villages.
Strong winds and successive heat waves have fueled raging fires in Greece and elsewhere around the Mediterranean this summer.