Tunisia firefighters battle forest blaze on Algeria borderThu, 20 Jul 2023 15:10:25 GMT

Firefighters in Tunisia are battling a major blaze that has raged for two days in a pine forest near the border with Algeria, a civil defence official said on Thursday.Regional civil defence director Abdel Laabidi told AFP that around 470 hectares (1,100 acres) of forest had already burned, and that firefighters and an army helicopter were still fighting the flames.He said a border crossing with Algeria had to close temporarily because of the outbreak.¬†Around a dozen families had been evacuated from the affected area near the Mediterranean resort of Tabarka east of the frontier.The Malloula border crossing had been “closed temporarily” because of thick smoke from the fire causing visibility problems on the road to Algeria, Laabidi said.Travellers were still able to cross the border at the Babouch crossing some 30 kilometres (18 miles) to the south, he said.No injuries had been reported, Laabidi added.Like many Mediterranean countries, Tunisia is going through a heat wave.The North African country is experiencing temperatures of 6 to 10 degrees Celsius above the average for this time of year. A maximum of 47C was recorded on Thursday in the south of the country.