People, Environment

Wildfire Damage Declining in DOE-Managed Protected Zones

Wildfire Damage Declining in DOE-Managed Protected ZonesWildfire Damage Declining in DOE-Managed Protected Zones

In the first four months of the current Iranian year (started March 20), some 700 hectares have burned in protected zones managed by the Department of Environment.

“While still relatively high, the figure shows a substantial drop compared to the same period of last year, when 2,300 hectares burned, and the year before when wildfires torched 5,660 hectares,” said Ali Teymouri, director of DOE’s Hunting and Fishing Office.

He attributed the decline (70% compared to last year and 88% compared to the previous year) to the department’s effective measures, such as forming rapid response teams in every province, holding drills in high-risk regions, equipping park rangers with fire extinguishers and installing monitoring systems

Teymouri noted that stationing helicopters in 14 provinces has significantly reduced firefighters’ response time and expedited the process of extinguishing wildfires.

“Fire sensors have been installed at strategic locations in certain woodlands with good results, hence more sensors will be installed in the forests of Golestan, Fars, Lorestan and Ilam provinces to ensure the early detection of fires and to help prevent their spread,” he said.

In the last four months, the country has experienced 104 fire incidents across 15 provinces, including Kurdestan, Fars, West Azarbaijan and Kohgilouyeh-Boyerahmad.

In the last Iranian year that ended in March, fires spread through more than 44,800 hectares of forests, irreparably destroying 18,000 hectares.

Iran’s arid climate and topography, together with human carelessness, have made the country highly prone to wildfires.

Raising public awareness, promoting correct ways of camping and installing more warning signs in vulnerable areas are among other measures to help prevent the disaster.

To combat intentional fires, legal punishments for culprits have been devised.

“Based on the Islamic Penal Code, offenders will serve between two- and five-year prison terms, while would-be arsonists caught before setting fire will be imprisoned for between six months and two,” Teymouri was quoted as saying by ISNA.