0547 GMT December 15, 2019
Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami on Friday ordered the dispatch of three helicopters to northwest of the country to assist in extinguishing the wildfire in the Arasbaran Forest.
Hatami assigned the Defense Ministry’s Engineering Unit and the Aerial Firefighting Control and Logistical Support Center of Iran to deploy three choppers to the forest in coordination with the Red Crescent Society of Iran and the Army Ground Force’s Airborne Unit, Tasnim News Agency reported.
Two copters were used to airlift forces and equipment, and the other firefighting helicopter, equipped with a 4000-liters water tank, helped contain the wildfire.
Regional military forces had already begun efforts to extinguish the fire in Arasbaran, located in Iran’s northwestern region and covering an area of more than 160,000 hectares.
Fire in Arasbaran Forest is nothing new, IRNA wrote, adding that since the beginning of the current Iranian year—March 21, the forests caught fire 24 times.
But the latest fire was unprecedented. it started on the deep steep slopes and shoulders of mountains.
The height of the region and the wind made it hard to extinguish the fire.
Early findings indicated that the fire had started due to human error. The fire burned to ashes 300 hectares of the forest that is the habitat for 20 percent of the known plants in Iran.
In April, 2017, UNESCO approved Arasbaran's dossier, which was submitted in January of the same year, paving the way for Iran to implement measures to ensure the forest meets the UN agency's criteria for inscription.