PM Shehbaz orders swift action to control another fire at Margalla Hills

Published May 28, 2024
Smoke rises from a fire, which erupted on Margalla Hills forest amid rising temperature on a hot summer day in Islamabad on May 28. — AFP
Smoke rises from a fire, which erupted on Margalla Hills forest amid rising temperature on a hot summer day in Islamabad on May 28. — AFP
Smoke rises as a fire at Margalla Hill rages on May 28. — DawnNewsTV
Smoke rises as a fire at Margalla Hill rages on May 28. — DawnNewsTV

Efforts are under way to extinguish a fire at the Noorpur range of Islamabad’s Margalla Hills as Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif directed authorities to act swiftly to control the blaze.

The incident follows two similar fires in hills’ Saidpur range yesterday, which were put out by firefighters after seven hours with the support of helicopters.

Capital Development Authority (CDA) spokesperson Kamran Aslam said the fire occurred at Trail-3 of the Saidpur range, which had now been extinguished, but had spread towards Trail-5 of the Noorpur range.

He added that CDA and wildlife department teams were busy extinguishing the blaze at Trail-5.

Taking notice of the fire, PM Shehbaz directed the relevant authorities to immediately mobilise and initiate operations to control it, state broadcaster PTV said on X.

“The fire should be controlled before it spreads further. It must be ensured that no danger is posed to any human life,” he was quoted as saying.

Aslam said more than 65 firefighters were engaged in efforts to control the fire, with more teams awaited.

The environment director general was overseeing the operation himself on the directives of CDA Chairman Muhammad Ali Randhawa, Aslam added.

He further said that the relevant assistant commissioner was also present at the site.

Aslam, also the CDA deputy director, highlighted that gusts of wind and hot weather had created difficulties in controlling the fire. He added that all resources were being put to use for the operation.

Spreading over 12,605 hectares, the Margalla Hills National Park witnesses scores of fires every year that damage the forests and create air pollution.

On Monday, two major fires broke out at around 1pm in the Saidpur range in two different locations — Chiran Di Gali and Saidpur area.

Environment director Asif Majeed had said both fires were seasonal and that over 200 firefighters had taken part in the extinguishing efforts.

Local firefighters, hired by the CDA for fire season, as well as three helicopters of the defence authorities and the Prime Minister’s Office had taken part in the operation on the request of the National Disaster Management Authority. Water was lifted from Rawal Dam in buckets.

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