Northern Forests Saw 27 Fires in Past Eight Days

Northern Forests Saw 27 Fires in Past Eight Days
Northern Forests Saw 27 Fires in Past Eight Days

In the last eight days, 27 wildfires have broken out in forests straddling northern Iran, head of the country’s Natural Reserves Protection Unit, Colonel Reza Akbari, said on Tuesday.

“The majority of fires occurred in the northern Gilan Province,” Akbari was quoted as saying by ISNA in an exclusive interview.

In some areas, fires in the Caspian Hyrcanian Forests burned for five straight days and destroyed 100 hectares of broad-leaved forests before they were contained.

Asked about the reasons for wildfires starting in this region, Akbari said that it was partly due to the 10-15 centimeters of dry leaves covering the ground in autumn.

Noting that it had not rained in the Hyrcanian region and the three northern provinces stretched alongside the Caspian Sea, he added, “Considering warm monsoon winds in autumn, high temperatures and low levels of moisture, we’re seeing many wildfires in the area.”

According to Akbari, most wildfires broke out in Gilan (14), followed by Mazandaran (9) and Golestan (4).



Province by Province

Akbari said that the wildfires raging in the Gilan Province had been extinguished in the very first hours with the help of firefighters, rangers, volunteers, environmentalists and his unit.

In the province of Mazandaran, where a total of nine wildfires broke out, some 15 hectares of forests were burnt.

“The fire swept through Abbasabad region. When local officials called for assistance, a helicopter was dispatched,” he said.

Aerial firefighting is instrumental in confining wildfires. Fires in Mazandaran have been successfully put out.

In the Golestan Province, four forest fires put more pressure on the region’s fragile ecosystem by threatening its biodiversity.

“The Mazandaran fires engulfed areas of less than one hectare and they were contained and put out with help from 50 of the unit’s forces,” he concluded.

The history of precious Hyrcanian forests dates back 25 to 50 million years. They are the habitat of 180 bird species and 58 species of mammals.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization placed Iran’s Hyrcanian forests on the World Heritage List in 2019.

With rumors flying that the recent wildfires would drive the international organization to take Iran’s forests out of the list, an expert in the field explained that it was an unlikely course of action.

Head of the Faculty of Natural Resources and Environment, Hadi Kiadaliri, said only three sites in the forests have been added to the World Heritage List and they wouldn’t necessarily be omitted from the list even if wildfires broke out in the specific areas identified by UNESCO.

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