Extinguished fire reignites burning Arasbaran forest

August 27, 2019

TEHRAN – While efforts have been made to put out the wildfire erupted in northwestern Arasbaran forest, it reignited and burnt the forest, head of East Azarbaijan’s disaster management organization has announced.

Wildfire swept through protected areas of Dizmar village, in Varzaghan county, last week. Although the massive fire was put out but it has been reignited hours later.

Since yesterday, fire swept through two villages in Khoda-Afarin county, ISNA quoted Mohammad Baqer Honarbar as saying on Tuesday.

Forces are still operating trying to spray water on areas susceptible to spontaneous ignition by helicopter, he added.

Despite efforts made to extinguish the fire, rising temperatures, winds, impassable ways in the area and human involvements have prevented the long lasting flames to be fully extinguished, he lamented.

Davar Namdar, head of provincial forests, range and watershed management department, said that 300 hectares of Arasbaran forests have turned into ashes.

He went on to note that rangelands, forests, and lands covered with oak, hornbeam, cotoneaster, crown of thorns, as well as rare and valuable Juniper species has been burnt in the fire.

Measures prevented the spread of fire but partially continued in some areas, he lamented, adding, “If we have been provided the facilities on the first day fire started, it would not have been reignited.”

Hamid Zohrabi, deputy chief of the department of Environment, also said that there is a doubt about whether the fire caused intentionally to own parts of the forest, several suspects have been arrested, but investigations are still ongoing.

He went on to explain that although the burnt lands are not in a position where the offenders intended to own, it is clear that fire have been started deliberately.

Arasbaran is a large mountainous area stretching from the Qusha Dagh massif, south of Ahar, to the Aras River in East Azarbaijan province. The region is confined to Aras River in the north, Meshgin Shahr county and Moghan in the east, Sarab county in the south, and Tabriz and Marand counties in the west.

Arasbaran protected area measures 78,560 hectares with a circumference of 134 kilometers. The altitude varies from 256 meters in the northern part to 2,896 meters which is the highest elevation in southern part of the area, according to the UNESCO website.

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