Police blame myriad of causes, including arson

Fires in Penjwen district scortch nearly 9,000 acres of land this year

SULAYMANIYAH, December 7 — In Sulaymaniyah’s Penjwen district, more than 8,000 acres of land and forests have succumbed to fires this year, as reported by the Penjwen Forest and Environment Police Directorate.

The inaugural fire of the year, recorded on June 19, 2023, ravaged 500 acres of land in Penjwen. Turkish airstrikes in the region have also reportedly led to fires in the area.

Adel Jalal, the Director of Penjwen Forest and Environment Police, revealed that a total of 30 fires have ignited in the district throughout the year, scorching 8,893 acres of land.

Jalal conveyed that two individuals have been apprehended this year for arson. Once the suspects are in custody and handed over to the court, they will face legal consequences proportional to the inflicted damage.

Highlighting intentional acts of arson, he noted that some citizens deliberately set fires to clear forested locations, transforming the areas into agricultural land. Occasionally, individuals associated with Iranian border bases ignite fires to clear debris from their surroundings but neglect to extinguish them upon departure.

The Forest and Environment Police lamented the absence of fire extinguishers, possessing only an air fire extinguisher. Among the 30 fires in Penjwen this year, 23 originated from unknown causes, three were traced to Iran, one resulted from lightning, another from mine explosions, and two were ignited by citizens.