ISLAMABAD: Another fire of the season broke out on Margalla Hills on Wednesday.

Sources said that fire started around 3:30pm on military farmland of Margalla Hills, which was controlled at around 8pm.

The huge flame and smoke could be seen from far away. The director environment regional Rana Tahir, who headed the firefighting operation, said that after five-hour-long efforts the fire was brought under control.

Asked about the cause of fire, he said that area, where fire was started is part of Trail 5, and apparently, the cause of fire is human error, as someone might have thrown a burning cigarette on dried bushes which caught fire.

He said that it was huge fire, which was extinguished by 50 local fire fighters after five hours.

Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Hamza Shafqaat also visited the site to oversee the operation.

Later, in his tweet he said: “Helicopter was requisitioned and authorised but it was not required. The fire didn’t spread and was controlled locally. Margalla forest fires are a complicated phenomenon. Visitors need to behave more responsibly.”

Spread over 12,605 hectares, the Margalla Hills National Park witnesses fire every year during summer.

Asked about the frequent fires on hills, the director environment said the fire is natural phenomenon and artificial phenomenon as well, so “we take every possible step to prevent fire incidents.”

He said that special measures to prevent fire this year are in place, as services of 400 locals (who extinguish fire with traditional method of beating fire with bushes) were hired while 200 CDA’s own staff is deputed on hills to control fire incidents.

He said their patrolling teams also kept a check on fire.

Published in Dawn, May 27th, 2021

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