ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Over the past month, 37,086 acres of agricultural crops have burned down across the country in some 272 separate fires, the Iraqi Civil Defense Directorate announced on Sunday.
The data provided by the directorate was considered incidents reported from May 8 to June 8.
“The causes behind the fires are as follows: 74 incidents were shortcircuit electrical fires, 35 were fires deliberately started by farmers, 25 were caused by sparks from farming machinery, 22 incidents were caused by discarded lit cigarettes in fields… and the source of 84 fires remains unidentified,” the statement read.
Kurdistan 24 has learned that some of the farmers intentionally burned down their crops in hope of getting some financial compensation from the government as some of their harvest and plots of land had been damaged by heavy rainfalls of March and April.
The Civil Defense also mentioned that their teams had prevented 992,344 acres of agricultural crops from burning last month.
Dozens of people have been killed and wounded while trying to extinguish the fires.
On Saturday evening, two villagers in Sinjar (Shingal) died after hundreds of acres of wheat crops caught fire, affecting several villages, local authorities told Kurdistan 24.
The fire destroyed crops in the villages of Hatamiya, Kojo, Dhola, Borrak, and Gohbal, local civil defense teams explained.
In the past month, Iraq has been unable to prevent fires that have torn through agricultural land across the country, some of which were started by Islamic State sleeper cells in disputed territories after farmers refused to pay taxes imposed by the jihadist group.
Editing by Nadia Riva