LOWER DIR/KOHAT: The Lower Dir district administration through National Disaster Management Authority) on Thursday arranged a helicopter when workers of Rescue 1122, the forest department, civil defence and locals failed to overcome a forest fire that broke out on Ghazo Osakai mountain two days ago.

Efforts were made by the helicopter staff but the fire could not be extinguished till the filing of this report. According to Rescue 1122 sources, a total of 70 workers from Lower Dir, Swat and Malakand tried their best to control the fire but due to high temperature, inaccessible site and wind the fire engulfed a large portion of the forest.

About 200 local volunteers and workers of the forest department and civil defence also took part in the operation. The Commandant Dir Taskforce, deputy commissioner Wasil Khan, assistant commissioner Adenzai Mohammad Daud Saleemi and other officials supervised the operation. Announcements were also made from the mosques to seek help of volunteers but to no avail.

Locals told Dawn that the fire had destroyed old trees and bushes, and affected wildlife habitat. They demanded of the army chief and prime minister to send special teams to the area to overcome the blaze.

Meanwhile in Kohat, the bush fire that broke out in the jungle of old Indus Highway hilly track close to the wildlife park due to hot weather on Wednesday evening was doused on Thursday after 11 hours of efforts by Rescue 1122 personnel and volunteers.

The Rescue personnel said that they got a report from the control room that the blaze in the jungle had been spreading and engulfing the whole area. The disaster and medical teams were dispatched to the scene which started extinguishing the fire by using the traditional method of using tree branches with leaves.

A statement said that no human loss was caused and the fire was put out after a long struggle.

Published in Dawn, May 31st, 2024

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