Margalla Hills fire controlled after hours-long efforts

Published May 28, 2024
Fire breaks out near the Saidpur village range on Margalla Hills in Islamabad on Monday. — DawnNewsTV
Fire breaks out near the Saidpur village range on Margalla Hills in Islamabad on Monday. — DawnNewsTV

A major fire that broke out early on Monday near the Saidpur village range on Margalla Hills was extinguished by Islamabad’s Capital Development Authority (CDA) and other departments after hours-long efforts.

Spread over 12,605 hectares, the Margalla Hills National Park witnesses many fire incidents during summer every year. The hills also caught fire earlier this month after a blaze near Loi Dandi erupted.

CDA spokesperson Kamran Aslam told Dawn.com that three helicopters were used to bring the fire under control which was raging at four different sites.

Earlier today, the CDA said the exact cause of the wildfire could not be ascertained, adding that “sizzling heat” with strong winds spread the fire to an area of three square kilometres.

Aslam said over 75 firefighters reached the spot to extinguish the blaze, adding that there was difficulty in controlling the fire due to the strong winds.

Later on, around 200 more firefighters arrived, he said.

Coordinator to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Romina Khurshid Alam said that rising temperatures caused by global warming led to fires in the hill, adding that the ministry was closely monitoring the control measures taken.

She lauded the fire control efforts of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), CDA and Islamabad Wildlife Management Board to douse the fire.

The climate change ministry earlier said that the NDMA and General Headquarters also mobilised a helicopter to assist in extinguishing the fire.

PM commends efforts to extinguish fire

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif commended the swift response and efforts of all departments concerned in controlling the Margalla Hills fire.

He appreciated the Pakistan Army, NDMA, Islamabad administration, Alam and officers and staff of the ministry for their “tireless efforts” in extinguishing the fire.

The prime minister said following his direction, the helicopters of the PM House and 6th Aviation also participated in the firefighting operation.

He directed the relevant authorities to assess the damage caused to the forest and take measures for its restoration.

Additionally, he instructed veterinary doctors to provide medical assistance to the injured wildlife.

He had earlier issued a directive to use all resources to extinguish the fire.

“Control of the fire should be ensured as soon as possible,” the premier had said according to a post on PTV’s X account, adding that no human life should be harmed in the fire and the protection of the wildlife should be ensured.

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