More than 7000 hectares of protected areas burnt in bushfires

"7,145 hectares of the four protected areas under the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency have burnt in bushfires since the beginning of this year," the head of Planning and Support Equipment Department of protected areas at Iran's Environmental Protection Agency said.

‌‌‌‌‌‌Iran (IMNA) – Pointing out that 4,600 hectares of lands under the management of Iran's Environmental Protection Agency were burned in bushfires during the same period in the previous year, Reza Harati said, "This year has seen unprecedented wildfires that increased by approximately 1.5 times in comparison to the same period of last year."

Saying that most fires were occurred in protected area of Buzin and Barkhil in Kermanshah province, he noted, "After Kermanshah Province, protected areas in Fars, East Azerbaijan, Kurdistan, Khuzestan, Bushehr, Mazandaran, Razavi Khorasan, Tehran and Qazvin provinces reported most fires this year."

Noting that this year's fires mostly damaged tree species, he added, "Wildlife casualties remained low. There were some reports on damages to birds, eggs or reptiles like snakes, but most affected natural elements were trees and shrubs, and tree species like Juniper or pomegranate planted in Miankaleh protected area were also burned in fire."

Saying that more than 95 percent of fires can be attributed to human factors, he continued, "Many of these fires have occurred unintentionally and inadvertently. For example, leaving garbage or glass objects in these areas which are ignited by catching the sunlight can be considered as one of the reasons of such fires. In addition, some farmers burn the rest of stems in their agricultural fields that are close to the protected areas, making fire spread rapidly."

"In deliberate fires, some people set fire to each other's agricultural lands due to ethnic conflicts. In some cases, the Environmental Protection Unit arrests violators; in response, they enkindle the lands of the Environmental Protection Agency. Meanwhile, natural factors like lightning and thunderbolt can cause fire in pastures and forests," he added.

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