Vast fires have been raging in the Khaeez protected forest in southwest Iran since Thursday, May 28. Hours after local officials reported that the fires had been extinguished and controlled on Saturday, the Governor oh Kohgiloyeh and Boyerahmad Province said that the fires had once again begun raging in the forest, killing many of the resident animals.
The Khaeez Protected Area consists of over 33 hectares of forests and due to its unique forest life and animals, was registered as a Protected Area in 1998. It lies in Khuzestan and Kohgiloyeh and Boyerahmad provinces in southwestern Iran. Khaeez consists of natural forest resources and is the habitat of over 1,500 wild goats and other wildlife such as leopards and caracals, also called Persian lynx.
The Kohgiluyeh Governor, Alireza Atabak called the ongoing fires “alarming”.
“With the fires once again blazing, the situation in the Khaeez mountains has become critical.”
He emphasized the need to stop the spread of fire to other protected areas by getting help from officials in Khuzestan Province.
Videos circulating on social media show that the fires have moved on to other regions including the western province of Kermanshah. A video showed the fires moving towards the trailers and tents of the survivors of the 2018 6.3 magnitude Kermanshah earthquake in Sarpol-e Zahab.
Reports indicate that lack of facilities has hampered efforts to put out the fires. Numerous videos on social media platforms showed locals trying to put out the fires with blankets or anything else they could get their hands on.
In an interview with state-run TV, the Commander of Iran’s Environment Protection Unit said that fires in Kohgiluyeh Province were too vast to control adding that they did not have a helicopter with a water bucket for aerial firefighting.