Trees destroyed as fire ravages Hazara forests

Published June 21, 2024
A fireman uses a hose to put out fire in Kotli Bala forests in Mansehra. — Dawn
A fireman uses a hose to put out fire in Kotli Bala forests in Mansehra. — Dawn

MANSEHRA/SWABI: The forests in the upper parts of Hazara witnessed several incidents of wildfires during Eidul Azha, causing widespread destruction of pine and other tree species.

“We have put out wildfires at 11 forests during the first four days of Eid. Some are still raging, shattering jungles stretched over widely,” Amir Khadam, a Rescue 1122 official, told journalists on Thursday.

Fire erupted in Shinkiari forest range, Khattai forest range in Agror, Koh-i-Behra forest range, Batrasi forest range, Kotkay forest range, Jabori forest range, Jaba forest ranges, Kotli Bala forest range, Balakot forest range and in neighbouring villages during the first four days of Eidul Azha in parts of Mansehra district.

Locals said that fire was still destroying trees in some forests that were inaccessible to Rescue 1122. They said that fire in Agror forest range was still raging as Rescue 1122 couldn’t move its fire squad to the area because of its inaccessibility from the recently established Oghi station.

Six picnickers rescued in Swabi

“We could only put out fire at 11 places during the first four Eid days,” said Mr Khadam. He said that in some cases locals were responsible for such incidents to grow grass at widely mountainous ranges as fodders. He said that in some cases timber smugglers ignited fire to eliminate tracers of tree cuttings.

The forests in Upper Kohistan, Lower Kohistan, Kolai-Palas and Torghar districts also witnessed wildfires on Eid.

In Swabi, six picnickers trapped in a rapidly spreading fire in Hamlet Mountain at the edge of Indus River downstream of Tarbela Dam were rescued on Thursday.

Locals said that the trees and bushes in the entire mountainous area reduced to ashes due to raging flames. However, rescue teams succeeded in controlling the fire from reaching the nearby population. The fire broke out at the night and was brought under control soon after midnight.

Awais Babar, Rescue 1122 district emergency officer, said that due to rapidly spreading of fire, which broke out due to unknown reasons, they sent six teams to the site to control the raging inferno.

As they received information, the fire tenders of Rescue 1122 along with six firefighting teams were dispatched to the site. The strong winds made problems for them in extinguishing fire, he said.

Mr Babar said that the fire, which broke out in Jhanda Mountain, was also brought under control.

Published in Dawn, June 21st, 2024

Opinion

Editorial

Afghan challenge
Updated 15 Jul, 2024

Afghan challenge

Foreign states must emphasise to the Afghan Taliban diplomatic recognition and trade relations all depend on greater counterterrorism efforts.
‘Complete’ justice
15 Jul, 2024

‘Complete’ justice

NOW that the matter of PTI’s reserved seats stands resolved, there are several equally pressing issues pertaining...
Drug fog
15 Jul, 2024

Drug fog

THE country has an old drug problem. While the menace has raged across divides of class and gender, successive ...
Miles to go
Updated 14 Jul, 2024

Miles to go

Some reforms agreed with the Fund are going to seriously impact economic growth and fresh investments, at least in the short term.
Iddat ruling
14 Jul, 2024

Iddat ruling

IT was a needless, despicable spectacle which only ended up uniting both conservatives and progressives in ...
Cricket shake-up
14 Jul, 2024

Cricket shake-up

SOMEONE had to take the blame and bear the brunt of the fallout from Pakistan’s disastrous showing at the T20 ...