Hello, Lebanon. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. As I’m sure you’ve already heard, this morning there were fires all over Northern Lebanon; in Douseh, Jabal Akroum, Qobeiyat.  Between the 300,000 square meters of greenery that were burned in Douseh and the 400,000 square meters of trees in Jabal Akroum, we’ve lost at least 700,000 m² of forest.

So, what do we do? Where do we go from here? These aren’t even the first forest fires we’ve had this summer. In mid-August we lost 78 acres of vegetation to fire. Lebanon, this does not bode well for us. Our country was once over 30% forest, now stands at 13%, and courtesy of all of these fires, will be even less. We need to fix this.

Our first priority is rehabilitating these burned areas. The biggest post-fire problems are soil erosion, desertification, and flooding. Given that much of the soil is burned, a lot of it is completely gone–hence, soil erosion. As for desertfication, the burning strips the remaining soil of its nutrients, making it difficult to re-plant in the same location. Flooding in particular is important because after a fire, the soil becomes water repellant. The reason for this is that  plants and trees have a wax-like coat on their leaves to protect them from water, and when these plants and trees are burned, this wax-like substance disperses and later covers the soil when the fire begins to cool. This causes water to run off the soil rather than allow for absorption.
The first thing we need to do is “soil-cover”, or rather, take good soil from adjacent unburned land and place it over the burned land. This should be done no later than after the second full growing season. After that, we must seed the soil with sustainable plants and trees, while removing fire-catching plants. We know the drill; you’ve heard all of this before, I’m sure. I’ve even blogged about it before.
But Lebanon, what is far more important is making sure these things do not happen again. The single most pertinent cause of wildfire is human negligence. We must make sure not to leave camp fires, flammable liquids and gases (these are often kitchen and farming items), electrical equipment or even cigarettes butts in the open. These things are all highly flammable, and with the sun being so hot, a fire can easily start. In the case of a cigarette, we may even think we have put it out but there could still be some flame left, with the result being a blaze. Fires can start so easily, and once they do, they are very difficult to stop.
I can’t help but wonder if there is a some deliberate fire-setting going on. What do you think? If there is, I encourage you to report anything that you know to the authorities. We definitely need to press for stringent laws pertaining to those who commit such crimes against us and our country. Do we want this to be what was once our country?
It’s time for us to come together, rehabilitate our land, and stop this from happening again. We can do it, Lebanon!!