Wildfires spread across Pakistani forests

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Soaring mercury backed by hot winds are the major cause of increasing number of forest fires across Pakistan as three provinces are dealing with such blazes, on Wednesday.

Most of the jungle fire incidents were reported from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, followed by Punjab and Balochistan.

A number of wildfires broke out in Najaf Pur forests located in Tehsil Khanpur, Jandi Chontra tourist spot of Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK) and in forests of Lower Dir in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Rescue 1122 teams along with fire hydrates have been trying to extinguish the fire for the last three hours in Najaf Pur area that spread on acres on wildland vegetation.

Rescue officials expressed the fear that the wildfire may engulf the nearby locality and posed serious threats to people’s lives and wild animals as well.

Keeping in view the number of wildlife incidents every year with over a dozen in KP, Punjab and AJK, the people urged authorities to come up with prevention strategies to avoid loss of human lives and properties.

Experts said that wildfires do sometimes occur naturally, either ignited by the sun’s heat or a lightning strike, however, most wildfires are caused by human activities, including unattended campfires, discarded cigarettes, arson and more.

In AJK, a fire was also reported near the tourist spot of Jandi Chontra. Rescue teams were trying to extinguish the blaze with fire hydrants. The raging fire has burned down a large number of trees in the forest.

Jandi Chontra is a town 17km from Bhimber city in Azad Jammu Kashmir and known for its panoramic views.

In another wildfire in Lower Dir, the authorities concerned managed to extinguish the fire completely after a 29-hour rescue operation.

KP DG Rescue said that the wildfire erupted in forests of Yamboli Tarnao Shaban and Laroom. He said that rescue personnel used conventional fire starvation processes to extinguish the blaze.

On Tuesday, a massive wildfire broke out in Islamabad’s Margalla Hills forest in Sector H-12. The huge flames and smoke could be seen from far-off places.

Shakargarh wildlife

Another wildfire erupted in village Amro forest—a border area—of Shakargarh razing a number of trees to ashes.

Locals in large numbers gathered and with their own help, made efforts to prevent the advance of wildfire.

The nearby locality of Basti Habib Ullah may also come under the wildfire.  The locals urged authorities to take immediate measures to extinguish the fire from further damaging the wildland vegetation.