Crews scramble to tackle fresh wildfires in Shangla

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Authorities and rescue officials amped up efforts on Thursday to put out fresh wildfires that erupted in the forests of the Alpuri and Martung tehsils in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Shangla yesterday morning.

The district has been fighting a wave of forest fires, which first started a week ago and has taken eight lives so far. According to a spokesperson of Rescue 1122, Rasool Khan, the new fires started in four different mountainous areas of Shangla.

“Fire in two areas at Lilowani in the Alpuri tehsil has been raging and affecting all the forest compartments for the second straight day today.

Rescue teams, Rasool said, have been dispatched to the field to extinguish the blaze. “They are using all available resources and we are hopeful the fire will soon be brought under control,” he added. The official added that crews had yet to be sent to Martung as the forests there were at a distance. “However, forest officials have told us that their teams have been engaged in the area to douse the blaze.” Meanwhile, Shangla Deputy Commissioner Ziaur Rehman said that a wildfire was also reported from the Kabalgram area, which was immediately extinguished.

“Teams are trying to put out the Alpuri fire too,” he added. Alamgir Khan, sub-divisional forest officer of Alpuri, said that the department was investigating the events and was trying to identify culprits (if any) after cases were opened against four individuals for deliberately setting fire to trees.