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Sunday, July 3, 2022
EditorialFire, fire everywhere

Fire, fire everywhere

From Margalla Hills in Islamabad to the Sulaiman range in Balochistan, devastating forest fires have ravaged parts of the country’s jungle cover in recent days. Nature was kind to the Margalla Hills as the recent rains helped the authorities put out the fire here but the flames has continued raging in the jungles of the Koh-i-Sulaiman range in parts of Balochistan for days, prompting the provincial government to enforce section 144 of the Pakistan Penal Code under which tourists and locals have been prohibited from carrying anything that can ignite fire in the jungle parts in the whole province. But the immediate concerns for the departments concerned should be to control the fires, and in this regard, the joint operation by the army, provincial and federal disaster management authorities and other departments seems helpless in front of the flames. The authorities have fielded three helicopters to combat the inferno, but they seem insufficient to stop the march of flames. Forest fires are not an uncommon phenomenon, but in recent years, they have become frequent incidents all over the world. They are breaking out for different reasons, mostly from climate change. The fire in Balochistan jungles started from lightning last week, and since then it has burnt down hundreds of trees of pine nuts and olive in the mountain range. Three people who suffered burns in the fire have died, while wildlife is at a greater risk. Rescue authorities have issued evacuation orders for the residents of several villages in the range.

The Balochistan government, which faces a no-trust motion against Chief Minister Qudoos Bizenjo, appears to be ill-equipped to confront the fire incidents. The same situation stands for other provinces too. Moreover, public awareness drives are also necessary to raise awareness levels of the people about the safety of jungles.

Experts say that most of the time, fires are started by villagers and some organizations. In some cases, people burnt jungle for social media footage and ensuing fame. We are living in unfortunate times.

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