Hoor Al-Azim Lagoon still burning after 70 days

IRNA – Director General of Khuzestan Department of Environment said that the Hoor Al-Azim Lagoon blaze is still ongoing after 70 days in three Iraqi districts in the vicinity of the Iranian southwestern borders.

‘East winds guided the smoke back towards Iraq yesterday,’ Ahamd Reza Lahijanzadeh told the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) on Saturday.

‘Humidity has slowed down the expansion trend of the fire in recent days,’ Lahijanzadeh added.

He referred to the covering of the southern part of Iranian province of Khuzestan with smokes and said, ‘Over 1,000 hectares of the lagoon were burnt just in the last three days.’

He referred to reduction of visibility to even 50 meters, saying, ‘The smoke caused by the fire rise the air pollution indices up to four times in some days.’

President Rouhani issued a special order to Foreign Ministry last week to negotiate with Iraq, which was hindered due to the recent invasion of terrorist attackers to Iranian Consulate in Basra.

In order to extinguish the flames, several attempts have been made by both countries in late July and early August but both were unsuccessful.

Hoor al-Azim is the last remnant of a set of lakes and lagoons in Khuzestan Province, southwestern Iran. One third of the lagoon is located in Iran and the rest is in Iraq.

Since July 6, 2018, Some 25,000 hectares of Hoor al-Azim Lagoon have been burnt in a massive fire.

The fire-prone area of the Iraqi part of Hoor Al-Azim covers an area of 150,000 hectares.

The lagoon has also been an origin of sand and dust storms in southern Iran since being dried up due to the low level of rivers’ water.

Hoor al-Azim was registered as a world heritage site in United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2016.