QUETTA: An aerial firefighter provided by the Iranian government reached Pakistan on Monday to take part in efforts being made to douse the fire that broke out in a pine nut forest of Koh-i-Suleman range in Shirani district days ago.

The fire could not be bro­ught under control despite massive operations launched by Pakistan Army, Frontier Corp, Levies force and workers of the forest department and the Provincial Disaster Management Authority.

Forest Secretary Dostain Jamaldani, who is supervising the operation, said the fire had been put out in some areas, but strong dry winds spread it to other areas.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Iranian consulate in Quetta said Tehran had provided the aerial firefighter on Pakistan government’s request.

The aircraft landed at the Nur Khan Airbase, Rawalpindi, the spokesperson said, adding the Ilyushin-76 aircraft was considered the biggest in the world. It can carry 40 tonnes of water in one go. He claimed that the Quetta airport did not have the landing capacity for such a big aircraft.

The consulate spokesperson said that due to its excellent performance this aircraft is also used for extinguishing fire in the forests of Georgia, Armenia and Turkey.

The aircraft would take off from the Nur Khan Airbase to carry out its operation in Shirani district, he said, adding that the aircraft would stay in Pakistan till the fire in Balochistan is complete extinguished.

Describing it as a ‘crown category’ fire, exp­erts are of the opinion that the fire had engulfed a vast area of the mountain forests.

Zhob division commissioner Bashir Ahmed Bazai told Dawn that around 30 to 35 per cent of forests had been completely gutted or badly affected.

Meanwhile, Levies officials took five suspects into custody on Monday for investigation. These people were found in the area, though they do not belong to Shirani district.

However, the deputy commissioner of Shirani said these people had come from Punjab to condole with the family that has lost its three members in the fire while making effort to extinguish the fire.

The family confirmed that they were students of a mad­ressah in which one of its members was also studying.

Published in Dawn, May 24th, 2022

Opinion

The sixth wave

The sixth wave

PCR testing has drastically gone down in Pakistan and our disease surveillance system needs much more strengthening.

Editorial

Udaipur killing
Updated 01 Jul, 2022

Udaipur killing

The crime committed in Udaipur did not happen in a vacuum.
Unacceptable demand
Updated 01 Jul, 2022

Unacceptable demand

Negotiating with extremists is tricky; no peace treaty with them has lasted beyond a few months.
Tough times ahead
01 Jul, 2022

Tough times ahead

THE finance ministry’s projection of 15pc inflation, much higher than the targeted rate of 11.5pc, during the new...
More ‘prior actions’
Updated 30 Jun, 2022

More ‘prior actions’

It is crucial that the IMF reconsiders its stance and releases the funds at the earliest to calm uneasy markets.
Growing power crisis
30 Jun, 2022

Growing power crisis

THE country’s escalating power crisis risks exacerbating the law-and-order situation as people take to the streets...
Attack on polio team
30 Jun, 2022

Attack on polio team

THE threat of deadly violence never seems to diminish for health workers and police officials involved in...