President Abdelmadjid Tebboune says soldiers who died saving 100 people in Kabyle are ‘martyrs’.
Wildfires fanned by blistering temperatures and tinder-dry conditions have killed at least 42 people in Algeria, authorities said on Tuesday, adding that the fires had criminal origins.
As well as the victims, 25 soldiers and 17 civilians, another 14 soldiers sustained varying degrees of injury.
Seventeen civilians died in Tizi Ouzou and Setif, Prime Minister Aimene Benabderrahmane said late Tuesday.
More than 70 fires have broken out in 18 states across the north of the country, including 10 around Tizi Ouzou, one of the most populous cities in the Kabylie region and capital of the eponymous province.
As temperatures remain high, the outlook is uncertain in a country already struggling with severe water shortages.
The civil protection directorate said 12 northern urban centres were hit by fires.
Algeria joins a string of countries hit by major blazes in recent weeks, including Greece, Turkey, Cyprus. Some areas in the western United States have also been affected.
On Monday, the UN released a major report showing how the threat from global warming is even more acute than previously thought.
It highlighted how scientists are quantifying the extent to which human-induced warming increases the intensity and/or likelihood of a specific extreme weather event, such as a heatwave or a wildfire.
Climate change amplifies droughts, creating ideal conditions for wildfires to spread out of control and inflict unprecedented material and environmental damage.