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Forest rangers to be trained in fighting wildfires — Agriculture Ministry

By Hana Namrouqa - Jul 16,2017 - Last updated at Jul 16,2017

Since the start of the year, the ministry recorded 11 wildfires that destroyed a total of 408 dunums of forestland (File photo)

AMMAN — Plans are under way to enrol forest rangers in specialised training courses on ways to prevent and fight wildfires, an official said on Sunday.

The plan is one of the several steps taken by the Ministry of Agriculture to protect forests from fires and violations, according to ministry spokesperson Nimer Haddadin.

“The ministry and the Civil Defence Department (CDD) are in discussions now to start a training programme for forest rangers,” Haddadin noted.

He highlighted that forest rangers will be trained on the best ways to prevent and put out forest fires.

“In most of the cases, forest rangers are the ones who report wildfires, they are also there when authorities battle a blaze… therefore, rangers are set to be equipped with the specialised, basic skills of battling wildfires under a coming training programme,” Haddadin told The Jordan Times.

Minister of Agriculture Khaled Hneifat and CDD Director Maj. Gen. Mustafa Bazaiah met last week to discuss cooperation between the two agencies in combating forest fires, according to Haddadin, who said that the training of forest rangers was among the topics discussed.

Over the past two months, the ministry and security authorities have also started the experimental use of drones to detect forest fires and violations on trees in the northern region. Fire routes through forests, extra monitoring towers and underground reservoirs are also among the ministry’s measures to curb forest fires.

Stricter monitoring of forests and improved prevention and fire extinguishing methods caused the number of wildfires to decline over the past two years, according to the ministry.

In 2015, the ministry registered a total of 50 wildfires that destroyed 1,327 dunums, while the number dropped to 43 wildfires that engulfed 835 dunums of forest trees in 2016. Since the start of the year, the ministry recorded 11 wildfires that destroyed a total of 408 dunums of forestland.

“... The number of wildfires is expected to drop this year,” Haddadin noted.

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, according to official figures.

 

Forestry land amounts to 1.5 million dunums, of which 250,000 dunums are bare, 400,000 dunums are natural forests, 500,000 dunums are planted forests and 350,000 dunums are nature reserves, according to the ministry.

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