Huge fires, destroying a vast swathe of the area, broke out at five different locations in the protected forests of Margalla Hills National Park, including one in a greenbelt near the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) on Tuesday.
All these fires are believed to be man-made but amplified by the ongoing extremely dry and hot weather.
The Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) and the Capital Development Authority (CDA) with the assistance of the Pakistan army jointly carried out the firefighting operation. The National Disaster Management Authority also took part in the operations carried out by the capital’s district administration by involving two helicopters.
The concerned departments started operations at 9:50 am and fought the fires till well after sunset. By the time flames at four locations in the Margallah hills were put out by the staff of Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) and the Capital Development Authority (CDA), the reserve forest 18 near Talhar village had turned into an inferno which then took several more hours to be extinguished by 60 firefighters from various departments.
“After we were done fighting fires in other locations, the flames in the reserve forest had spread and gotten out of control. The fire season is at its peak. Unfortunately, these fires were started by local people,” said IWMB Director Tariq Bangash, who was at the reserve area.
Areas hit by the recent fires
- A fire broke out at Trial-3 of the Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP) on Sunday.
- Near the Navy Club Rawal Dam, the second fire in one week in the same area erupted
- Fire on a greenbelt in front of the Shell pump on Murree Road.
- One fire erupted in a forest near Kahuta.
- Eruption of fire in a greenbelt near the National University of Science and Technology
All these fires were successfully brought under control after an hours-long struggle of the firefighters from different government institutes.