Due to the hot season and the increasing risk of wildfires, fire prevention procedures will be prepared and announced to all the provinces soon, Jamshid Mohabbat Khani, commander of the protection unit of the Department of Environment (DOE), has said.
In this instruction, items such as vigilance, readiness, updating equipment, and preparing environmentalists’ assistants are mentioned, he stated.
Also, responsible bodies such as firefighters, police, rangers who have can help us in the crisis, are also listed in this guide, he added.
The firefighting equipment is enough with the number of rangers, one of the tools that are very useful is the fire blower, so last year we provided 200 quality blowers to the rangers, he also stated.
Rainfall this year was lower than in previous years, so wildfires start sooner so that the most important and effective way to reduce wildfires is to inform the public and raise awareness, he highlighted.
Mohabbat Khani pointing out that wildfires are mostly caused by unintentional human error, said that over 90 percent of wildfires are ignited by humans unintentionally while setting fires in nature, smoking, and releasing plastic and glass containers.
Every fire causes a lot of damage to the environment and ecosystem; It is not only the plants that are destroyed but also the living organisms that are trapped in the fire, he lamented.
“We may also lose our human capital in fires, as last year we lost four environmental defenders in the wildfire,” he regretted.
Wildfire risk raises
Every year, with the onset of summer, wildfire prevalence increases in forest and rangelands, which all residents and tourists should cooperate to minimize the impact, as they throw cigarette butts in nature, drop glass bottles which act like lenses and ignites due to sunlight, resulting in the destruction of a large area of natural areas, Hossein Abiri Golpayegani environmental activist said.
The amount of rainfall during the winter and spring of this year was very low, which will cause two major problems. First, the drying of shrubs will occur earlier than last year; the next problem is water scarcity because there was little rainfall this year, so water resources have dwindled and there are low water resources to extinguish the fire, he explained.
In recent years, environmental activists have made great efforts to raise awareness and education in order to reduce wildfires, as environmental organizations with practical and applied methods in the face of fire and its timely extinguishing, holding workshops and training courses, he concluded.
Insufficient human forces to protect natural resources
Some 83 percent of the country’s total land area amounting to 135 million hectares is covered by natural resources. Unfortunately, we do not have sufficient human forces and facilities to protect our natural resources, Mohabbat Khani said in June 2020.
He noted that the number of rangers in Iran is one-tenth of the global standard, which is a ranger for every 12,000 hectares, while it should be a ranger per 1,000 hectares.
Regarding the people’s role in wildfires and the lack of law in this field, Mohabbat Khani, said that last year (ended on March 19), 12 percent of fires were naturally set, on the other hand, 18 percent of fires were an act of arson.
Reza Aflatooni, the deputy director of the Forests, Rangelands, and Watershed Management Organization for legal affairs, in June 2020 announced that people who deliberately set fire to forests and pastures are sentenced to at least 10 years in prison.
Farmers, ranchers, and gardeners must obtain permission from natural resources officials for burning their garden plant residues, he said.
Qasem Sabz’ali, commander of the forest protection unit of the Forests, Range, and Watershed Management Organization, said in April 2018 that some 15,000 hectares of forests burn in wildfires annually in Iran that 95 percent of them are caused by humans.
Forest wildfire brings a heavy economic burden amounting to 560 million rials (about $13,000) per hectare for the country, he added.