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Local Officials In Iran Unable To Stop Wildfires, Call For Help

Wildfires in the forests of Khaeiz, southwest Iran. May 29, 2020

A day after a wildfire broke out in the Khaeiz protected area in southwest Iran, local officials declared "emergency crisis alert" on Friday, May 29 and asked for much needed help, having little equipment to confront the fires.

The deputy governor has called on the "National Crisis Management" to step in to contain the blaze in the province of Kohgiluyeh & Boyer-Ahmad.

Meanwhile, local authorities in the southern province of Bushehr reported a technical defect in an Islamic Revolution Guards Corps' (IRGC) helicopter sent to contain a wildfire on Siah Dashtestan Mountain while the blaze was spreading.

The state-run Iran Students News Agency (ISNA) cited the Deputy Governor of the city of Kohgilouyeh, Mohammad Ali Aros, as saying, "More than 200 hectares (more than 494 acres) of the area have been burnt and, given the current condition, it would be impossible to contain the blaze within 48 hours."

Moreover, he warned that with strong winds blowing, it will be soon impossible to contain the wildfire and reiterated, the wildfire has reached an intensity that local forces are not capable of containing it, and the National Crisis Management should step in.

Declaring that some of the local forces were caught in the middle of the blaze, Aros warned that they might perish, since the firefighters are suffering from lack of water.

The Director-General of the provincial Department of Environment (DoE), also called for public assistance to contain the blaze, saying the fire was spreading due to a lack of manpower and technical means.

Khaeiz "protected region", with an area of more than 33,000 hectares (approximately 127.5 square miles), has been one of the officially protected districts of Iran since 1998.

Local officials say the fire started from the city of Behbahan in the oil-rich province of Khuzestan and spread to Kohgiluyeh city because it was not contained in time and has now reached the hills, and still expanding.

At the same time, a Bushehr provincial official announced the continuation of the fire in the hard-to-reach area of Siah Dashtestan Mountain in the province and said that a helicopter sent by the IRGC on Thursday to control the fire could not take off due to a technical defect.

The Director-General of Natural Resources of Bushehr also announced today that the wildfire in Siah Dashtestan Mountain has entered its third day and air support is much needed to contain the blaze. This is the third fire incident in Bushehr province this week.

Meanwhile, according to the IRGC-run Tasnim news agency, the Iranian Army Ground Force has dispatched troops to the province of Khuzestan to help extinguish the wildfire burning woodlands in two southwestern provinces.