Lightning strikes suspected

Civil defense teams battle wildfires in Najaf and Diyala

NAJAF — Civil defense teams in Najaf extinguished a fire Sunday night that threatened wheat crops in the Ghazali fields of Al-Hurriyah district. Video footage captured at the scene showed firefighters battling flames leaping through the field, with thick gray smoke billowing into the night sky.

Firefighters managed to save approximately 25 dunams (6.2 acres) of crops, but three dunams (.74 acres) were lost to the blaze. Authorities are investigating the cause of the fire. No injuries were reported.

This incident follows a similar fire in 2023 that destroyed five dunams (1.23 acres) of wheat fields in the Dubeiniya area of the Al-Mishkhab district. Local residents assisted civil defense teams in controlling that fire, with eyewitness Yaquob Al-Fatlawi suggesting lightning might have been the cause. “We heard thunder, and after going outside, we found that the flames had started,” Al-Fatlawi said.

Separately on Sunday, a fire broke out in a barley field in Diyala governorate after a reported lightning strike. A source told 964media that local residents took initiative to extinguish the flames until firefighters arrived at the scene.