The head of Iran's Forest Protection Unit says the incidence of forest fires rose by an unprecedented 40 percent in the past year due to “excessive heat and droughts.”

The Etemad daily reports that on Saturday July 26, Qassem Sabzali said: “Budget shortages have made it impossible for the Forest Organizations to maintain the equipment to adequately deal with these fires.”

Fars, Khuzestan, Lorestan, Kogiloyeh, Kerman and Golestan Provinces are reported to have the highest incidence of forest fires.

IRNA reported that on Saturday July 26 another fire destroyed 20 hectares of forest in Alborz Province; three days ago, half of Karkheh National Park in Khuzestan, another 100 hectares of forest, was destroyed by fire.