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HomeNationalGhazi Gandkar hills on fire for the seventh consecutive day

Ghazi Gandkar hills on fire for the seventh consecutive day

Efforts underway to control Koh-e-Suleman blaze

After the passage of seven days, the jungle fire of Gandkar tehsil could not be extinguished. The wildfire has destroyed miles-long forests and killed rare species of animals and birds in the hilly areas of Gandkar.

According to details, several miles of forests on the hills of Gandkar along with the rare type of birds and animals have been burnt alive in the north of Haripur, as the KP government is yet to extinguish the fire, as no provincial department has taken any step to cope with the issue.

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Locals told the media that despite their efforts to restrict the fire, they had failed due to windstorms which had aided in spreading the wildfire. They further said that besides the precious forests, the fire also burnt rare species of wildlife and their eggs, including grey goral, black partridge, grey partridge, chakur partridge, see-see partridge, in the breeding season.

Meanwhile, as many as two MI-17 helicopters of the Pakistan Army are participating in the firefighting efforts to control the devastating fire flared up in Pine nut forests of the Sherani district of Balochistan.

The civil administration of Balochistan, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), and the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) were making all-out efforts to control the forest fire in Sherani, official sources said.

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The Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps (FC) Balochistan were assisting civil administration whereas the helicopters of Pak Army were participating in firefighting operations by spraying water and chemical to control the fire.

The FC Balochistan has established relief and medical camps in the area, where all-out efforts were being made to protect lives and properties of the locals from the fire spreading over an area of 8-10 kilometres.

The NDMA has provided firefighting suits, fire extinguishers, firefighting balls and DCP chemical bags.

Moreover, the Rescue 1122 teams, individuals of PDMA, and individuals of Forest Department were also participating in the operation.

The issue of wildfires was also raised in the Upper House of parliament, where Leader of the House Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar assured the members that the federal government would make sincere efforts to contain wildfire in Sherani area of Balochistan.

Replying to the calling attention notice of Senator Kamran Murtaza in the Senate on the issue of wildfire in Sherani, Senator Tarar said that the federal government would not only provide possible support, including logistics, to the provincial government but also take the matter to the highest forums.

He said that the best way to avoid such wildfires in the future was to adopt preventive measures, besides implementing effective strategy to manage the situation.

Earlier, Senator Kamran Murtaza said that all fires that erupt in forests were not ‘natural’.

Sometimes, he added, forests were set ablaze by destructive elements to achieve certain underlying objectives that resulted in heavy losses.

He asked the Ministry of Climate Change and other quarters concerned to take special measures for establishing a proper mechanism to control fires in the forests, particularly in Sherani forests.

It may be mentioned here that the authorities on Monday continued to battle the forest fire in Koh-e-Suleman mountain range with the civil administration and the provincial and national disaster management authorities were getting further help from the security forces and a neighbouring country to douse the blaze.

A day earlier, the KP government declared emergency as the fire continued to spread. In a statement, Minister for Local Government Faisal Amin Khan said three people died and four others were injured after being trapped in the fire.

An Iranian firefighting aircraft landed in Pakistan on Monday to join the effort to put out the forest fire at Koh-e-Suleman.

According to Attique-ur Rehman Kakar, a forest officer of the Balochistan government based in the area, the forest initially caught fire in the Mughal Kot area on May 9. However, the flames entered Balochistan on May 13. It further erupted in various spots of the Koh-e-Suleman range, he added.

Also, Balochistan Assembly Deputy Speaker Sardar Babar Khan Musakhail has written a letter to the NDMA chairman seeking his technical support to extinguish raging inferno in Shirani district.

In an official letter to the NDMA chairman, deputy speaker said, “The Balochistan government has no proper facilities/equipment to extinguish fire… [so] keeping in view the whole prevailing situation, the NDMA should provide facilities and equipment to the said district.”

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