Rising temperatures and fire incidents in Iraq: A persistent threat

Rising temperatures and fire incidents in Iraq: A persistent threat

Shafaq News/ Fire incidents in Iraq tend to escalate with rising temperatures, which these days exceed half the boiling point during peak summer. The Civil Defense Directorate reports a significant decrease of over 44% in fire incidents over the past five months compared to previous years. However, it emphasizes the ongoing need for strict adherence to safety and prevention measures to ensure a safe environment across Iraq.

Fire Incidents by Region

During the summer, Iraq frequently experiences numerous fire incidents, particularly in commercial and industrial areas, as well as in public buildings and institutions.

Several cities have grappled with significant fire incidents in recent years, highlighting the ongoing challenges the country faces in managing such disasters.

In Baghdad, the capital, fires have erupted in commercial, residential, and governmental areas, causing extensive property damage and occasional casualties. The city's densely populated neighborhoods and aging infrastructure make it particularly vulnerable to fire outbreaks.

Basra, with its vast industrial zones and vital oil facilities, has also faced frequent fires. The city's economic backbone is threatened by these incidents, which disrupt operations and pose risks to workers' safety.

Mosul, still recovering from the ravages of war, has seen fires in residential areas and markets.

In Kirkuk and Erbil, fires have broken out in oil fields, industrial sectors, and shopping malls. The economic impact of these fires is substantial, affecting both the local economy and the broader national economic landscape.

Temperature Data

Recent temperature recordings indicate extreme highs, with cities like Al-Amara, Al-Nasiriyah, Al-Rifai, Basra (including Al-Hussein neighborhood and Basra International Airport), Al-Faw, Karbala, Najaf, Samawa, and Badra experiencing temperatures ranging from 48.6 to 50 degrees Celsius, as reported by the Placerville station in California, USA.

Amer al-Jaberi, the Media Director of the Iraqi Meteorological Authority, expects "temperatures potentially exceeding 50 degrees Celsius this summer, similar to last year. He tells Shafaq News Agency that these conditions to "prevailing thermal low-pressure systems."

Measures and Public Awareness

Ali Tawij, the Media Director of Civil Defense in Najaf governorate, highlights that "high temperatures usually lead to fire incidents." He emphasizes the "importance of public awareness, advocating for the presence of fire extinguishers in homes, vehicles, and workplaces, along with knowledge of their effective use during emergencies."

Tawij also stresses "the importance of maintaining electrical installations, cutting off power when leaving home or work, avoiding overloading outlets, and cooperating with Civil Defense by reporting fires promptly with accurate location details to ensure a quick response."

Nawas Sabah, the Media Division Director at the Civil Defense Directorate, states that "5,544 fire incidents were recorded in the past five months, a 44% decrease from previous years." He attributes this to strict enforcement of safety measures, including around 72,144 site inspections and coordinating with municipal departments to close non-compliant projects for 15 days.

Baghdad, with its high population density and number of buildings, had the highest number of fire incidents. Sabah stresses that "the Directorate focuses on the value of what was saved rather than the losses." He also notes that "fire investigations are handled by the Forensic Evidence Directorate, not the Civil Defense."

Government Actions

On June 16, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani directed the necessary investigations into recent fires. He also instructed security forces to "complete the investigations and take all necessary measures to prevent such incidents, emphasizing public safety procedures," according to a statement from his office obtained by Shafaq News Agency.

So far, Iraq remains in the circle of danger for massive fires, especially with the summer season just beginning. As temperatures rise, the risk of fire incidents in commercial, industrial, and public areas is expected to increase.

The country's struggle with aging infrastructure, inadequate fire prevention measures, and the challenges of post-war reconstruction only exacerbate this risk.

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