Iranian environmental official visits zone affected by Hour al-Azim wildfires

TEHRAN, Aug. 05 (MNA) – Iranian Vice President and Head of the Department of Environment (DoE) Isa Kalantari has arrived in Khuzestan province to closely monitor efforts to prevent wildfires in Iraqi part of Hour al-Azim wetland from reaching Iran.

Isa Kalantari arrived in the provincial capital of Khuzestan province, Ahvaz, on Sunday.

Iraqi part of Hour al-Azim wetland has been burning for a month now and the wildfire smoke clouds have caused health problems for the inhabitants of cities on the Iranian side of the border, especially in Iranian Khuzestan province and its capital Ahvaz.

Iran has so far dispatched two helicopters and one sprinkler aircraft to contain the fire on the Iraqi side of the border after the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense, coordinated the operations with Iraqi officials.

On July 25, it was announced that the fire had largely been contained while two days later the Iraqi side of the wetland caught fire again and it has been burning since then.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi government has called for international help in a bid to extinguish the fire.

The wildfire is located in a region 25 kilometers from the southwestern Iranian borders.

The head of the Iranian Department of Environment (DoE) had previously announced in a news conference that helping Iraq with the extinguishing efforts is not easy as the Iraqis have their own regulations, and getting permission to fly helicopters over the other side of the border takes a long time.

He had called for intensifying efforts to prevent the wildfire from reaching the Iranian side of the wetland.

More than 50,000 masks have been distributed among the inhabitants of the region exposed to the dangerous smoke from wildfires.

It has just been reported that the air pollution has forced Iranian authorities to close government bodies in Hoveyzeh, Khuzestan Province.

The level of smoke in the cities of Bostan, Susangerd, Hamidieh and Ahvaz has increased to dangerous levels, disrupting people’s lives.

KI/IRN82991452,4365910

News Code 136416

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