Sign In / Up

Add contribution as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Comment as a guest

Your email will not be displayed publicly
Benefit of signing in/signing up to personalize comment

Login

Not a member Register   Forgot Password
or connect using
 

Email

 

Rudaw

Local

Forest fire warning as July temperatures climb

By Rawa Abdullah 12/7/2018
35% of the forestland burned over the past eight years was due to Iranian and Turkish bombings. Photo: Rudaw
35% of the forestland burned over the past eight years was due to Iranian and Turkish bombings. Photo: Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – It is July time and temperatures are rising. Forests in the Kurdistan Region are in danger of catching fire. Teams from the ministry of agriculture and fire department are on standby. But it is unlikely we will survive a fire with minimum damage due to the low budgets dedicated to these teams.

According to figures produced by the ministry of agriculture and water resources, over the past eight years, 1,031,290 acres of forests were burned. Most of this happened over the past three years, during which 559,469 acres of forests were burned, making up 57 percent of the forests burned over the past eight years.

“Due to the economic crisis, it’s been three years we haven’t been able to build fire barriers to protect forests from fires and clean them. This has increased the damage incurred as a result of fires in these forests,” Hussein Hamakarim, director general of forests at the ministry of agriculture.

July is known for fires. Hamakarim said fire barriers have been built for only two percent of the forests, and only this percentage has been cleaned.

“Ninety-eight percent of forests in the Kurdistan Region are in threat of catching fire, especially this year with too much rain fall [producing lots of scrub] ... and rising temperatures,” he said.



 According to investigations carried by the ministry of agriculture into these fires, 35 percent of the forestland burned over the past eight years was due to Iranian and Turkish bombings.


“There are many reasons behind blazes. But according to investigations carried out into blazes of the past three years, we have found out that most of these blazes were due to negligence, some deliberate, remnants of fire made by shepherds and tourists, Iranian and Turkish bombings,” Hamakarim said.

Outmoded fire control methods, the vastness of forests, the lack of proper roads, the mining of some forests, and the lack of fire barriers have doubled the extent of the damage these fires cause.

“Anyone who cuts old trees or deliberately sets fire to forests will be imprisoned for a period of time no less than six months and a fine of no less than five million dinars,” article 22 of forest law says.

“The courts don’t unfortunately implement this law adequately. They release people arrested for deliberately setting fire to a forest on bail and sentence them according to the environment law, which is very little,” Hamakarim said.

Samad Mohammed, head of the environment protection body in the Kurdistan Region, said: “In addition to burning trees, bushes and seeds, fires destroy hundreds of types of birds and animals. They even change the climate of the environment.”

According to figures produced by the ministry of agriculture, most of these fires over the past eight years were reported in the province of Sulaimani, during which 580,380 acres of forest were burned in the province. This accounts for 56.2 percent of the forests burned over the past eight years.

Last year, the province of Halabja saw most fire incidents, where 30,757 acres of forest in the province were burned. This makes up 58 percent of the forests burned last year – nearly 52,777 acres.

“Most fire incidents of last year in the province of Halabja are attributed to negligence or were made deliberately. Some fires were caused by the shots fired by Iranian border patrol, who sometimes fire at forests to clear their surrounding areas from bushes,” Mohammed Mahmud, director of forests in the province of Halabja, told Rudaw.

“Last year’s fires have caused a lot of damage to forests in Halabja province. Nearly 8,000 acres of forests were burned,” he added.

This year, there have so far been four fire incidents in the province of Halabja, burning nearly 273 acres of natural and artificial forests. Other forests are in danger of catching fire because of the lack of sufficient fire barriers.

Comments

 
!! | 12/7/2018
And yet, they go or send representatives to Iran and Turkey to shake and kiss hands!!
1727 Views

Be Part of Your Rudaw!

Share your stories, photos and videos with Rudaw, and quite possibly the world.

What You Say

Pakistani | 2/16/2019 3:28:42 AM
Turkey is a terrorist state , has been killing innocent Kurds for ages ....
parasitePKK | 2/17/2019 3:54:11 AM
As long as the PKK is there Turkey has the right to defend themselves. PKK is a parasite against the Kurds.
Kurdish villagers driven off their mountainsides by Turkish airstrikes
| 15/2/2019 | (2)
josfe | 2/14/2019 4:59:43 AM
And this man is a graduate with masters ? A college kid would be more objektive and wouldnt let his own opinion shine through.
David | 2/17/2019 1:36:54 AM
Solid analysis and proposal!
Rojava and Turkey: A classic case in colonialism
| 13/2/2019 | (5)
guest2002 | 2/15/2019 8:20:41 PM
The attack was on armed forces . Since when that is called terrorism??? Mollas ruling Iran have terrified Iranians for 40 years now. They kill...
Erbilguy | 2/17/2019 1:17:06 AM
@guest2002 So Isis beheading peshmergas was not terrorism?
United Nations encourages states to help Iran after terror attack killed 27
| 15/2/2019 | (8)
Dutchman | 2/16/2019 11:33:33 PM
Macron is right. When Putin talks about an "inter-Syrian political dialogue" he means that Assad and his Alawit minority regime stays in power with...
Macron, Putin weigh ‘deteriorated’ situation in Syria
| 16/2/2019 | (1)

Elsewhere on Rudaw

Women dominate leadership of Kurdistan Region parliament 7 hours ago |

Women dominate leadership of Kurdistan Region parliament

"It is a pride for all Kurds to have a woman as more
EU states mixed on Trump demand to take back IS fighters 8 hours ago |

EU states mixed on Trump demand to take back IS fighters

“It is certainly not as easy as they think in more
Erdogan sheds crocodile tears for European Union 8 hours ago |

Erdogan sheds crocodile tears for European Union

Erdogan and his party stalwarts lost all interest more
0.531 seconds