Recent wildfire in Ajloun reminds of danger of summer picnickers’ fires — Agriculture Ministry

By Hana Namrouqa – May 25,2017

AMMAN — As firefighters and rangers extinguished a wild fire on Thursday dawn that engulfed 12 dunnums of dry grass, officials urged picnickers to stop lighting fires in forests to prevent wildfires.

Picnickers should realise by now how easy it is for a wild fire to start in forests, especially during summer when temperatures are high and the grass is dry, Agriculture Ministry Spokesperson Nimer Haddadin said.

“A wild fire has erupted at the very early hours of Thursday in Hashimiyeh area in Ajloun Governorate. It has burned 12 dunums of dry grass…, luckily the flames didn’t reach the forest area,” Haddadin told The Jordan Times.

The official underscored that investigation is now under way to reveal the cause of the fire, but said that the fire likely started after picnickers failed to properly put out their barbeque fire.

“It is true that the fire didn’t damage forest trees, but the firefighting operations were very difficult as firefighters and rangers had to put out the flames manually because the area’s topography is rough and fire engines had no access,” Haddadin underscored.

The official advised people against lighting fires when they picnic in forests, and also urged picnickers to keep the site clean as they leave.

The ministry indicated that fires increase during the summer because of several factors including the spread of dry grass, high temperatures, increase in picnicking activities and illegal loggers who commit arson.

Haddadin also indicated that farmers, especially in the Jordan Valley, should rid their farms and of dry grass, stressing that it starts the majority of fires during summer.

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

Jordan 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.