People, Environment

Wildfires Burnt 12,000 Hectares in Six Months

Wildfires inflict upward of $94 million in losses every year.Wildfires inflict upward of $94 million in losses every year.

Fires scorched a total of 12,000 hectares of Iran's forests and rangelands in the first half of the current Iranian year (started March 20), signifying a 12% decrease compared with the same period of last year.

Colonel Qasem Sabzali, commander of the protection unit of Forests, Range and Watershed Management Organization, says being well-equipped helped reduce the damage.

"We are prepared and have better equipment, such as helicopters, that have helped us fight forest fires quickly and effectively this year," he was quoted as saying by ILNA.

The wildfires were most frequent in the provinces of Isfahan, Hamedan, Fars, Kurdestan, Khuzestan and Kohgilouyeh-Boyerahmad. However, Fars, Khuzestan, Isfahan and Zanjan had the biggest fires.

About 95% of all wildfires are caused by humans, around 85% of which are accidental.

Tribal conflicts have made matters worse. Last year, more than 200 hectares of wooded areas burned to ashes across Iran due to tribal disputes that got out of hand, leading to clans incinerating portions of forests inhabited by rivals.

Sabzali said helicopters have been stationed in 14 provinces, which have helped significantly reduce firefighters’ response time and accelerate the process of extinguishing fires.

In May, FRWO chief, Khodakaram Jalali, said 32 fire stations have been set up throughout the country—more than double the figure quoted by Sabzali.

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

Wildfires inflict upward of 3.2 trillion rials ($94 million) in losses every year, according to forestry officials.

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