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October 21 2021 3:57 PM ˚

Forest fire preparations underway ahead of eid

President of the Department of Forestry in Jerash Agriculture Fayez Al-Harasheh told local media that the Department of Agriculture had started clearing weeds and grassy areas earlier this year, espec
President of the Department of Forestry in Jerash Agriculture Fayez Al-Harasheh told local media that the Department of Agriculture had started clearing weeds and grassy areas earlier this year, especially those in regions projected to see a high turnout of tourists in time for Eid Al-Fitr. (Photo: Unsplash)
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AMMAN — Jordanian authorities have started preparing for potential forest fires that may be expected to erupt this summer.اضافة اعلان

President of the Department of Forestry in Jerash Agriculture Fayez Al-Harasheh told local media that the Department of Agriculture had started clearing weeds and grassy areas earlier this year, especially those in regions projected to see a high turnout of tourists in time for Eid Al-Fitr. 

He added that the department recorded a total of 48 fires last year, which covered some 1,300 dunums of forest area.

According to a Civil Defense Department (CDD) report, around 96 percent of forest fires in Jordan are manmade.

Mohammad Malkawi, director of the Yarmouk Forest Reserve run by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature (RSCN), told Jordan News over the phone that most fires at the reserve occur in the summer.

“We had to put out two fires inside the reserve during Eid, last year,” Malkawi said.

The reasons behind the increase in fires during this time are ignorance, recklessness, and even arson, according to Malkawi. He explained that many, despite being aware, carry on with behaviors that increase the risk of fires. 

“Starting (cooking) fires is not allowed inside the reserve areas. However, we prepare for them annually. We have a contingency plan in place to limit fires and any problems associated with them,” Malkawi said.

He explained that despite the ban imposed inside the reserve, which is covered with thick grass and therefore highly susceptible to fires, some people visiting the reserve do not adhere to the ban and start fires anyway. 

Therefore, the RSCN has set forth appropriate safety regulations and measures to combat these fires, in coordination with local farmers and municipalities.

“We have ranger cars equipped with firefighting equipment, such as extinguishers and water pumps. The geared vehicles are four-wheel cars, and the rangers are qualified, and trained to combat fires,” Malkawi elaborated.

Malkawi also told Jordan News that some parts of the Yarmouk Forest Reserve are used for grazing by cattle owners who can inadvertently start fires.

“A shepherd could decide to make a kettle of tea or to light up a cigarette. He could throw the cigarette (on the ground) and a fire could start, and then spread,” Malkawi said.

The RSCN follows certain protocols to control a fireonce one starts at one of its reserves, which include alerting the CDD and other relevant entities. 

“We do not take eid or any other national holidays off. Therefore, we monitor bushes and forest areas inside the reserve through the rangers and the reserve’s employees,” he added.

Local media on Monday reported that the CDD as well as the Royal Department for Environment Protection had spent the past two days attempting  to control a fire that started in Ajloun under unknown circumstances.

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