Massive blaze destroys 700 acres of forest land in KP's Shangla district

Published December 8, 2017
A view of the wildfire near Bisham. —Photo by Author
A view of the wildfire near Bisham. —Photo by Author

Around 700 acres of forests in the Kormang Gandorai area of Shangla district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have been gutted in a massive fire that continues to spread, local officials told Dawn.com on Friday evening.

Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Amjad told Dawn.com that the fire had broken out Thursday evening in the Gandorai area adjoining the mountains of Bisham city. It soon engulfed the entire area, including the Kana Tehsil.

"The blaze spread rapidly because of heavy winds," he said.

The DFO said the fire seems to have been "started deliberately", but the department would properly investigate the issue.

He said that about 200 forest officials and citizens are engaged in attempts to contain the blaze, which has so far not been brought under control.

"Ash from burning trees is hurting the eyes of rescue workers," he said, explaining why progress has been slow. He also said that rescue efforts had been difficult to execute as the area is very difficult to reach.

Wildfire in Shangla district gutted 700 acres of forests. —Photo by Author
Wildfire in Shangla district gutted 700 acres of forests. —Photo by Author

Muhammad Sadiq, a local resident, told Dawn.com that a mosque, two water supply stations and some houses were also gutted in the fire. He said forest department personnel are attempting to contain the fire, but it seems out of their control.

Other locals asked that the government send special helicopters to put out the flames, fearing that it may soon spread to other areas as well.

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