People, Environment

Fire Frequency Up in Protected Areas

Fire Frequency Up in Protected AreasFire Frequency Up in Protected Areas

There has been a rise in the number of fire breakouts in protected areas managed by the Department of Environment since the beginning of the current Iranian year (March 21), an official at the department said.

Speaking to ILNA on Monday, Ali Teymouri, the head of Conservation, Hunting and Fishing Office at DOE, added that between March 21 and June 12, there have been 49 fire incidents in areas under the department's protection.

Iran has 280 protected areas and 38 incidents were reported there during the same period of last year. Teymouri attributed the rise to "decent rainfall in the past few months, which has helped vegetation to grow and spread", providing fodder for fire.

"Local residents and tourists need to be even more careful now," Teymouri said, adding that humans cause 95% of all wildfires.

"Heat rarely causes fires in the Zagros forests but it does exacerbate the problem when people start fires," he said.

Since March 21, 0.5 hectare of woodlands in Gilan, 1 hectare in Lorestan, 23 hectares in Ilam and 32 hectares in Fars have burned. However, the silver lining is that despite the higher frequency of wildfires, they have burned a smaller area, thanks to local authorities being better prepared and equipped.

On average, forest fires inflict losses worth about 3.2 trillion rials ($85.3 million). A vast majority of Iranian woodlands are managed by the Forests, Range and Watershed Management Organization. Khodakaram Jalali, the head of Forests, Range and Watershed Management Organization and a deputy agriculture minister, said 32 helicopters designed to combat wildfires will be inducted nationwide this year, with every province receiving at least one aircraft.


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