ALGIERS, July 28 (Xinhua) -- The Algerian authorities announced on Sunday that 6,000 hectares of forests have been destroyed in 923 reported fires since June, state-run Algeria Radio reported.
These fires have affected 46 percent of forests and bushes, with an average of 17 fires triggered a day, Abdelghani Boumsaoud, deputy director of forest resources protection at the National Forests Department, was quoted as saying.
According to Boumsaoud, the most affected province is Tissemsilt, 240 km west of the capital Algiers, where 1,141 hectares of green fields were damaged in 28 reported fires.
Tizi Ouzou Province, 120 km east of Algiers, is the second most affected with 962 hectares of vegetation destroyed in 164 reported fires, followed by the northwestern province of Ain Defla with 44 reported fires that affected 942 hectares of forests.
The government has launched an investigation into the causes of the recent fires, as some coal traffickers are suspected to be behind the fires in an attempt to collect burned bushes and sell them as coal during the upcoming Eid al-Adha festival.