The Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), the Association for Forests, Development and Conservation (AFDC), together with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the US Forest Service (USFS) and the program they support and implement, the Lebanon Reforestation Initiative (LRI), gathered to commemorate the closing of two workshops that addressed the grave threats to Lebanon’s forests, livelihoods, and communities from the ravages of wildland fires.
The first workshop, attended by the Lebanese Armed Forces, Civil Defense and the Red Cross, helped familiarize participants with principles of coordinated wildland firefighting. The attendees also discussed the challenges faced by Lebanese firefighters and brainstormed ways to improve coordination among firefighting agencies.
The second workshop introduced the basics of fire behavior and wildland firefighting. It provided 125 LAF officers with the opportunity to practice in the field using firefighting equipment and gave them informational tools to train soldiers in their home brigades.
“We are glad to offer our experience to help strengthen the capacity of our Lebanese partners and of the Lebanese people, not only to replant their communities but also to prevent the loss of those valuable trees and forests that are still standing and on which so much of Lebanon’s current and future prosperity depends,” said Mr. Timothy Alexander, USAID Lebanon Project Director.
All participants left with well-earned certificates of accomplishment, confident that enhanced coordination among the several agencies will lead to reduced damage from wildland fires and aware that they have a big role to play in protecting Lebanon’s forests and contributing to a better future.