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Balochistan forest inferno put out at last

The Balochistan government announced that the raging fire that devastated Koh-e-Suleman pine and olive forest in Sherani district was finally extinguished on Tuesday.

The development came after an air tanker sent by Iran completed three rounds of water splashing on the burning trees.

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The federal government had reached out to Iran and asked them to provide a special firefighting aircraft to combat the forest fire.

“Joint efforts put in place by the NDMA, PDMA, Pakistan Army, forest department and civil administration have finally turned out to be helpful in controlling the inferno that posed a serious threat to the national asset and wildlife and civilians,” Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo said.

The chief minister, however, said that a special Iranian firefighting aircraft remained instrumental in controlling the raging fire.

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Addressing a press conference in Quetta later, Federal Minister for Housing Maulana Abdul Wasey said, “Fire has been brought under control and extinguished.

Balochistan Chief Secretary Abdul Aziz Uqaili, Noor Muhammad Dumar and other provincial ministers were also present on the occasion.

“Forest guards, civil administration is still at the forest,” Maulana Wasey stated.

The fire in the Sherani forest located in the Koh-e-Suleman mountain range erupted on May 18. According to media reports, the fire has destroyed more than 30-kilometre area of the ancient forest.

In response to a question, Chief Secretary Uqaili said that an inquiry was also ordered to probe into the spread of fire in the ancient forest. He said both the provincial and federal governments were working to rehabilitate the people affected by the forest fire.

“We will consult the environmentalist on the national level to review the regrowth of pine and olive trees,” the federal minister added.

Maulana Wasey said that the government had already announced compensation for the heirs of three people who were burnt to death while battling the roaring flames of fire. He stated that the families of the injured people would also be compensated by the provincial government.

The Balochistan government has imposed a ban on camp fires and cooking in all forests located across the province. Balochistan’s home and tribal affairs department issued a notification and directed the deputy commissioners concerned to ensure the implementation of the directives.

The provincial government made the decision in the wake of a looming danger of fire eruption in forests located in Zhob, Sherani, Kalat, Kohlu, Ziarat and other parts of Balochistan because of drought and the climate crisis, the notification stated.



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