Meiqan Wetland Blaze Linked to Human Activity

Meiqan Wetland Blaze Linked to Human ActivityMeiqan Wetland Blaze Linked to Human Activity

Human activity is most likely the cause of the recent fire in Meiqan Wetland, Markazi Province, the head of the provincial Crisis Management Center said. Speaking to IRNA, Saeid Farrokhi added that the fire reported on Dec. 22 was put off after six hours. "Natural cause could rarely start a wildfire in cold winter days, hence the cause is most probably careless camping or human misconduct," he said.

"Firefighters, the Department of Environment's staff and local residents continued efforts to extinguish the blaze, but they didn't succeed until a firefighting aircraft was sent to the affected area from Tehran." The wetland is shallow and swampy, making it tough for firefighting efforts.  "The wetland was marshy and no vehicle or boat could get close to the fire. We asked the headquarters in Tehran for aerial firefighting equipment," Farrokhi said. Reza Mirzaei, a deputy at the provincial DOE, said the smoke was thick and changed the Air Quality Index in Arak, the central city of the province.  

Although it destroyed some 50 hectares of the reed bed in the wetland, the wind's direction hampered the flames from spreading further. Officials say wind pushed the fire to the southwest part of the wetland, which prevented the flames from reaching the habitat of migratory birds. Located 7 km from Arak, Meiqan is one of the few remaining habitats for migratory birds, as a large number of wetlands throughout the country have been destroyed by drought.   

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