Fire over Margalla Hills brought under control

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Zubair Qureshi

The Capital Development Authority, Islamabad Wildlife Management Board and the Islamabad Capital Authority made joint efforts to extinguish fires that engulfed different tracks and trails of the iconic Margalla Hills of Islamabad causing huge loss not only to plantations but the wildlife as well.

The fire was brought under complete control on Saturday after hectic efforts for three days and a probe has been launched in the incident.

Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat has made it clear that all teams would stay vigilant because the winds, high temperature and the pine trees are a lethal combination.

Following an incident on Wednesday, at least three fires broke out on Friday destroying ecosystems, trees and plants and posed a severe threat to wildlife.

Meanwhile, social media is abuzz with tweets condemning those who set the Margalla Hills on fire and the netizens posted pictures of the dead animals, fowls who could not escape the sudden fire that got them.

“There is a need for a proper investigation to know what are the reasons behind the frequent fires though a fire could be a natural phenomenon and a result of human activity,” said an official of the CDA.

Another official said there could be another reason behind the frequent fire cases. Every year, the CDA hires services of around 300 to 400 local persons for three months for firefighting purposes.

Meanwhile, IWMB Chairperson Rina Saeed Khan said the IWMB was worried about loss of wildlife in fires.

She said Friday’s fire incidents were not natural but man-made. The IWMB had 60 member-staff and from tomorrow the entire staff will focus on controlling fire incidents.

“According to the IWMB teams, an unknown person was involved in Friday’s fire incidents. We will probe this matter and would take action against those involved,” she said, adding her staff also took part in fire extinguishing operations.

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