Fire revisits Margalla Hills; vast forest area gutted

Fire revisits Margalla Hills; vast forest area gutted

10 May 2012

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Pakistan — ISLAMABAD: Fire erupted on Margalla Hills at two points on Wednesday, gutting a huge stretch of forest area, besides affecting flora and fauna.

The fire that started in the afternoon was suppressed at around 6:30pm. “Our firefighters are there at the site. They have suppressed the fire and are busy in extinguishing the burning bushes and dry leaves,” Director General (Environment) Sheikh Suleman told APP. He said the fire had erupted in the area falling close to Trail-3. He said the reason behind the fire is yet to be ascertained; however in most cases, it takes place after the visitors throw flaming cigarette buds without realising the consequences of their negligence. When asked about the volume of the area gutted, Capital Development Authority (CDA) spokesman Ramzan Sajid said it had affected around 1.5 acres of the forest.

However, he said the fire had not gutted big trees; rather it only affected bushes and small plants. He said the CDA had been pursuing a comprehensive strategy to fight hill fires under which the area had been divided into four ranges where fire checkposts had been established. He said that forest personnel (environment) monitor the park areas round-the-clock to cope with any untoward fire incidents.

Under the strategy, the Environment Wing had been tasked with ensuring protection and preservation of wildlife in case of fire in the hills. It also aimed at protecting the natural environment and expanding the green cover by taking all possible precautionary measures.

When asked about any permanent solution to fire incidents, the director general said it was almost impossible for the CDA to have constant check on the National Park Area spread over 12,605 hectares. The fires in the forest not only destroy costly trees and shrubs but also affect different species of animals, birds and reptiles inhabited in the park area.

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