At the end of July, the hot Middle East summer caused forests around the city of Doroud in Western Iran to ignite in a blazing fire.
After about one day, some news agencies published news about burn of 500 hectares (5,000 square kilometers) of the forest.
Later governmental authorities announced that the correct information is 100 hectares. The main cause of the fire is not known, but the hot dry weather – some of the worst the region has felt in decades – has caused a vast area catch fire rapidly.
This is the last one of the series of forest fires that has started since the first days of this hot summer –– one of the hottest on record. Can we say: Global Warming hits Iran?
“The fire broke out in an area of 500 hectares [5,000 square kilometers], causing damages to 300 hectares of land with unique animal and plant life,” Fars News Agency quoted Hassan Ahmadi, deputy governor of the city of Doroud, as saying to PressTV. He further criticized the province’s Emergency Committee officials for their failure to send helicopters to help put out the fire.
The number of forest fires in the mountains of western Iran has increased this year. The sparse and scattered forests of western Iran are threatened more than the rainforests of the north. The western forests are located on the Zagros Mountains in west of Iran in provinces like Ilam, Kordestan, Kermanshah, and Khuzestan, which are all near the Iran-Iraq border.
The danger of such fires is felt more in the West. The northern forests experience fire each year too, like the fire that destroyed 130 hectares of forest near Sari in northern Iran in 2009. However, in 2010 a wave of hot temperatures in the Middle East, India and Europe has made the warmer forests of Zagros more vulnerable.
According to Conservation Unit of Iranian Forests, Range & Watershed Management Organization, the aforementioned provinces are in critical condition this year. Ilam Province, which is one of the smallest provinces of Iran, embraces a total area of 2 million hectares, from which 640000 hectares are oak and other sparse forests.
Due to the scattering of the mountains in impassable mountains of the region firefighting needs helicopters and special air fire fighting facilities, which are not available much in the western parts. As Taghi Iravani, the head of the Conservation Unit says, this year the forest fires have had a 100 percent increase in comparison to the previous years.
Record highs in Moscow and Saudi Arabia have been seen for this summer already. The first signs of global warming?
Image via seyyed_mostafa_zamani