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Cairo: Illegal burning of a tree in Saudi Arabia is punishable by fines of up to SR40,000, the kingdom’s environment police has warned.

“The fine on burning trees reaches SR20,000 per tree and SR40,000 per tree in nature reserves,” spokesman for the Saudi Special Forces for Environmental Security, Col. Abdulrahman Al Otaibi, said.

Setting off bonfires in non-designated places is, meanwhile, punishable by fines of SR3,000 that reach SR20,000 in protected areas, the official told Saudi television Al Ekhbariya.

“The executive regulations for the environment law include strict penalties in view of the dangers posed by illegal bonfires or tree burning to the environment in general,” Col. Al Otaibi added.

In recent months, Saudi Arabia has ramped up a crackdown on environmental violations.

Earlier this week, the Saudi environment police said they had arrested eight people for having ignited bonfires in non-designated sites in a public park.

The offenders—seven Saudis and one Egyptian resident-- were arrested for setting off the illegal bonfires in Al Soudah Park in Abha in south-west Saudi Arabia.

In 2019, Saudi authorities announced a ban on bonfires in gardens and other public places for safety reasons and vowed to fine offenders.

The practice of setting off fires for cooking in public areas is not uncommon during outings in Saudi Arabia.

The fines against the act in non-designated public sites are part of regulations for public conduct that went into effect in the kingdom in September 2019.