GFMC: Forest Fires in Iran, 3 July 2000

Early Warning of Forest Fires in Iran

3 July 2000

As can be seen on the Early Fire Warning Section of the GFMC website the global to regional fire weather forecasts of the Experimental Climate Prediction Center the forecasted and modeled fire danger in the Southern-Central parts of Asia between Iran and Mongolia for the next weeks and the next month remain severe.The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) on 30 June 2000 issued a drought report for Iran. According this report (OCHA/GVA – 2000/0121) the drought situation in Iran is continuing.

Southern, eastern and central Iran is experiencing a rapidly developing drought which has been causing widespread arid conditions in southern and western Asian countries. Hundreds of thousands of people as well as livestock and crops in 18 out of the total 28 provinces in the country have been affected. The worst affected provinces are Sistan-Baluchestan, Khorasan, Ilam, Yazd, Fars, Kohkiluyeh Boyer-Ahmad, Bushehr, Hormuzgan, Kerman, and Khuzestan. In addition, it is now believed that all but the three northern provinces on the Caspian coast are facing some form of water shortage. The situation is reported to be critical in Sistan-Baluchestan and Khorasan (with a population of 6 million and 1.7 million respectively) on the Pakistan/Afghanistan border, where the majority of the 1.4 million Afghan refugees in Iran are concentrated.
Since the drought is also affecting Pakistan and Afghanistan, Afghani villagers and livestock herders are reported to be crossing into Iran in search of water and pastures. Cross-border movements have increased since authorities in Iran allowed livestock in Sistan-Baluchestan to move to other areas of the country. As the dry season continues and available water reserves are exhausted, it is expected that the situation will further deteriorate.

According to the UN-OCHA report 9.6 million hectares of forest and woodlands are endangered by drought and fire.

The GFMC expects that the forest fire situation will be extreme in the coming weeks and months in Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan. See IFFN No. 22 (April 2000) for a recent national fire report from Kazakhstan. In the GFMC archive the 1999 Afghanistan Fire Emergency can be accessed.

Although the Government of Iran has not issued an international appeal, it has indicated that it would welcome international assistance.

For coordination purposes, donors are requested to inform OCHA Geneva, as indicated below, of bilateral relief missions/pledges/contributions and their corresponding values by item. The OCHA situation report, together with further information on ongoing emergencies, is also available on the OCHA Internet Website at

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