Forest fires rage in northern Morocco

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Firefighters in northern Morocco are battling to put out two forest blazes, a forestries official said Sunday as the North African kingdom swelters in a heatwave.

"Non-stop efforts are underway to control the fires which broke out on Saturday afternoon," said Rachid El-Anzi, director of the water and forestry department in the Chefchaouen region.

He said firefighting planes were being used to tackle the conflagrations which had already destroyed some 200 hectares (500 acres) of forest.

Several parts of the North African kingdom have seen temperatures of up to 49 degrees Celsius (120 Fahrenheit), according to weather authorities.

"There have been no victims, as priority has been given to preventing fires approaching residential areas," El-Anzi said.

He said the cause of the fires was not known, but that they had been spurred by high temperatures and strong winds, which are expected to last into Monday.

Morocco joins several other Mediterranean countries that have seen forest fires in recent weeks, including neighbouring Algeria where at least 90 people were killed in wildfires last week.

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