Hengaw’s in-depth report on Devastating and Expanding Wildfires in Forests and Meadows of Marivan

Over the past week, an extensive wildfire has been raging in the forests of Marivan, des

07 August 2023 17:14


Hengaw; Monday, August 7th, 2023

Over the past week, an extensive wildfire has been raging in the forests of Marivan, despite relentless efforts from environmental defenders, activists, and volunteers. The fire's depth and scope are alarming, yet relevant government agencies have not taken effective measures to control it.

As reported by Hengaw, the wildfire that started last Thursday, August 3rd, in the forests of Marivan, continues to spread without any clear signs of containment. The fire has now overrun seven different locations, and despite the efforts of "Sebze Chya" (great mountain) association members and volunteers from other Kurdish cities, it remains uncontrolled.

Initial reports indicate that the core of the wildfire originated in the forest outskirts of "Dereveran" village last Thursday afternoon and has since spread to dozens of different locations.

The intensity and expansion of the fire have prompted the "Sebze Chya" association in Marivan in a video published in their social media accounts issued a plea for help from all residents of Marivan and neighboring cities. The call was met with an extraordinary response, with various environmental defenders from different regions of Kurdistan rushing to Marivan.

Reza Akbari, the commander of the Natural Resources and Watershed Protection Organization of the Islamic Republic of Iran, stated in a government media interview that approximately 300 hectares of forest and meadows have been consumed by the recent wildfire.

However, a representative of the "Sebze Chya" association contradicted the official statement, asserting that around 500 hectares of forest and meadows in Marivan have burned to the flames.

While the community strives to extinguish the fire, three environmental activists from Marivan named Azad Rohi, Layiq Ahmadī, and Sarkawt Abadi were arrested by intelligence forces on Thursday night, August 3rd, 2023.

Furthermore, on the early morning of Wednesday, August 2nd, Deler Mohammadi, a graduate in electrical engineering from the village of "Balak," and Alan Ardeshiri, a 32-year-old environmental activist from Marivan, were detained by intelligence authorities at their residences, and brutally assaulted during their arrests.

The persistence of the wildfire, coupled with the government's apparent inaction, has sparked criticism, leading several helicopters from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to be deployed to the region. However, according to eyewitnesses, these helicopters were merely performing demonstrative flights and showed no operational coordination with civilian firefighting teams.

Various eyewitness accounts support the claim that armed government forces stationed in Marivan were involved in igniting the initial flames, solidifying the public's belief that this wildfire was deliberately set by government entities.

Throughout this ordeal, Hengaw has received numerous images that exemplify the unprecedented unity of the Kurdish civil society, environmental organizations, defenders, and nature enthusiasts who have come together. Notably, women played a remarkable role in the frontline firefighting efforts, as well as in supply and support groups, ensuring the necessary resources and sustenance reached the environmental defenders.

As a human rights organization, Hengaw commends the unity and solidarity demonstrated by the Kurdistan civil society during this exceptional collective endeavor. We reiterate the urgency of preserving the environment as a foundation for building a compassionate and healthy society. We remain hopeful that the fire will be contained in hand of the caring and educated activists and efforts of the responsible community.

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