AMMAN — Ajloun Civil Defence Department (CDD) firefighters dealt with 32 fires in forests and on farmlands during the Eid Al Fitr holiday, Ajloun CDD Director Col. Hani Smadi said Wednesday.

The fires destroyed hundreds of trees as well as dried grass, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, quoted Smadi as saying, and adding that there were no deaths and the causes are still unknown.

Moreover, he said the CDD deals every day with fires in different areas of Ajloun, some 70km northwest of Amman, and that it always conducts workshops and seminars in cooperation with school and university students, youth centres, and civil community institutions to protect forests.

Ajloun Governorate contains 140,000 dunums of forests that cover 34 per cent of its total area.

Forests in Jordan constitute less than 1 per cent of the country’s total area of 97,000 square kilometres.

The Kingdom is among the poorest countries worldwide in terms of forest cover, with the internationally accepted average of land covered by forests standing at 15 per cent of the total area.

Illegal logging during winter, wildfires during summer and insufficient rain due to climate change are the main threats to Jordan’s shrinking green cover, according to experts.

In 2013, 64 wildfires were registered in the Kingdom, damaging 5,615 forest trees on 2,711 dunums, according to Department of Statistics (DoS) figures released last year.

In 2012, 57 forest fires damaged 6,422 trees planted on 1,296 dunums, according to DoS.

Between 2003 and 2013, 582 wildfires were registered, resulting in the destruction of 44,888 forest trees.

The CDD says wildfires are usually caused by children playing with fire in forests, visitors’ negligence during the picnicking season or acts of arson.
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