CSP Enhances Community Resilience to Prevent Forest Fires in Damour, Mechref, and Kfarmatta (Mount Lebanon)
Damour, Mechref, and Kfarmatta are three heavily forested neighboring towns in the lower Chouf area of Lebanon, home to more than 22,000 Lebanese residents and 2,000 Syrian refugees. In 2019, devastating wildfires erupted in the region, burning around 50% of the villages’ total area. In immediate response, USAID’s Community Support Program (CSP) implemented a community clean-up cash-for-work activity in 2020, where 160 workers were provided with temporary income to clean up the burnt areas; trim and prune trees; and clean up irrigation canals to prevent future forest fires.
To enhance the villages’ long-term resilience to forest fires, CSP also trained in 2022 community members on best practices for the prevention of wildfires, assisted them in establishing a local ‘forest fire committee’, and developed a plan to reduce the risk of fire incidents. On July 18, 2023, in order to further enhance municipal fire response readiness and improve residents’ safety ahead of the high fire risk season in summer, CSP upgraded an existing fire hydrant serving Mechref, Damour, and Kfarmatta, that had been inactive for six years.
“This fire hydrant will enable fire trucks to reach any wildfire more quickly and save on trucking water expenses, which we expect will significantly reduce the extent of fires,” said Assad Aoun, member of the forest fire committee at Mechref Municipality