Fresh fires erupted in the mountains and forests of Swat on Monday as authorities claim to have doused over 70 fires in different locations of the district since June 1.
According to district administration officials, an operation was underway to control the fresh fires, which broke out in the hills of Babuzai, Barikot, Charbagh, Khwazakhela and Kabal tehsils.
Meanwhile, the fire in the mountains of Marghuzar — a popular tourist destination in Swat — could not be extinguished on the third day as it extended to Manyar, Gahalegey, and other mountains of Barikot tehsil.
Officials said a fire dousing operation was underway in the mountains of Marghuzar and other areas where fresh fires erupted.
Teams were dispatched to the hills of Shamelai Sangota and Muhammad Baig in Babuzai tehsil; Shalhand in Kabal tehsil; Amlookdara, Ghalegey and Manyar in Barikot tehsil; Toha in Charbagh tehsil; and Chinkolai in Khwazakhela tehsil.
Spokesperson of the Rescue 1122 in Swat said a total of 74 forest and mountain fire operations had been conducted since June 1, 2022. He added that at least 70 fires were brought under control and extinguished so far while fire extinguishing and rescue operations were underway in the remaining areas.
Local residents of Amlokdara village said the fire turned into ashes almost all vegetation on the hills and was now spreading to residential areas.
Meanwhile, workers and leaders of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party staged protests seeking an immediate inquiry into incidents of fire.
They claimed that those "who ignited a fire in the mountains of Swat must be exposed and arrested" and terrorism cases should be registered against them.
Officials of the forest department, Rescue 1122, Swat Levies, local police, volunteers of civil defence, civil society members, and local community members are taking part in operations to douse the fire.
Last week, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif issued orders for helicopters to be flown to Swat to help the National Disaster Management Authority put out the wildfires.