Armed forces dispatch helicopters to extinguish wildfire in SW Iran

TEHRAN, May 31 (MNA) – Iranian Armed Forces have dispatched helicopters to Khuzestan and Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad provinces to help extinguish a wildfire that is burning woodlands in the southwestern provinces.

Javad Mostafaei, the head of Crisis Management Department at the Defense Ministry, said on Sunday, “Based on a directive by the president, the Army and IRGC have sent helicopters to the two provinces to assist extinguishing the wildfires burning the southwestern woodlands.”

He noted that “seven helicopters were already called in to assist extinguish the wildfire in the past week and are currently on their mission.”

Iranian military forces play a leading role in the rescue and relief efforts during natural disasters in the country. The Army and the IRGC units have saved the lives of civilians in many incidents, such as floods and earthquakes.

Mostafaei said that based on a directive issued by the First Vice President in 2015, the provision of aerial firefighting services within the natural resources has been assigned to the Defense Ministry, adding, “Such cooperation has led to a considerable decline of the destruction of nature by wildfires ever since.”

Earlier on Friday, Deputy Commander of the Iranian Army Ground Forces Brigadier General Nozar Nemati said that the disaster response battalions from the Armored Brigade 392 of Army Ground Force had been deployed to the woodlands near Khasraj county in Khuzestan to put out the wildfire.

He also noted that the military helicopters at the Army Ground Force Airborne Division’s airbase in Masjed Soleyman had performed tens of sorties to assist in the operation to control the raging fire in the southwestern provinces of Khuzestan and Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad.

Wildfire broke out on Thursday evening in several protected areas in the provinces of Khuzestan, Bushehr, Lorestan, Kohgiluyeh, and Boyer-Ahmad, including Khaeez protected area. The stretch, measuring 28,000 hectares, is one of the main habitats for wild goats.

Being impassable has made any fire-fighting operation almost impossible and only helicopters could reach the area. Fierce winds, high latitude, high vegetation, and the lack of equipment and manpower have made firefighting operations much more difficult.

MR/4938178

News Code 159266

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