TEHRAN (Press TV) -- Iran on Saturday toughened jail sentences for people who deliberately start bushfires amid nationwide efforts to contain blazes that have devastated forests and highlands in several areas of the country.
A senior official in Iran’s Forests, Range and Watershed Management Organization (FRW) said long jail sentences of up to 10 years would await people who are convicted of deliberately starting and causing a wildfire.
Reza Aflatouni, FRW’s senior legal officer, said that Iran’s prosecutor general had approved longer jail sentences for those convicts.
The current prison time for people convicted of setting fire on natural sites is two to three years, said Aflatouni, adding that the criminal charges would also apply to people who cause destruction to the nature by setting their private lands ablaze.
Toughening criminal charges against people intentionally setting bushfires comes amid a nationwide effort to contain wildfires that began a week ago in the southern province of Kohkiloyeh and Boyer Ahmad and later spread to other highlands in southwest and west of Iran.
Aflatouni said the FRW had identified several people who have been accused of initiating the fire in the Zagros mountain range. He said those people had been arrested pending trial.
Local authorities in southern province of Bushehr said on Saturday that they had managed to put out a massive blaze affecting ranges in Dashtestan County.
However, they said a new fire had started in the Behmard region in the same country early on Sunday, causing a fresh mobilization of local efforts to extinguish the blaze.
Hot and dry weather has been blamed for wildfires that have broken out in Bushehr and other provinces in Iran over the past few days, including in areas to the west of the capital Tehran.