August 9, 2017 Wildfire has destroyed 42,000 square miles (11 million hectares) of Iranian forests in the past three years, according to a Majlis (Iranian Parliament) deputy from Shiraz, Ali Akbari, who also claims that forest fires inflict nearly $100 million in damages to the country every year.
Akbari argues that inadequate firefighting equipment and lack of preventive measures have led fires to spread and last longer in the majority of cases.
“Our fire services still use picks, shovels and other rudimentary hand tools to battle large blazes,” says Akbari.
“A number of provinces, particularly those with extensive woodlands, don’t have an aerial firefighting fleet, which would normally include helicopters. Occasionally military institutions and the Ministry of Defense provide helicopters to the various fire departments. It is virtually impossible to effectively battle forest fires without helicopters.”
“Wildfire was responsible for the destruction of approximately eight square miles (2,123 hectares), 13 square miles (3,394 hectares) and 25.4 square miles (6,574 hectares) of woodlands in 2016, 2015 and 2014, respectively.”
According to the parliamentary deputy, humans are a major cause of wildfires in Iran. He has called on the authorities to raise public awareness of fire prevention, to provide training for forest rangers and to modernize Iran’s Safety Services and Fire-Fighting Organization.