Iran joins firefighting efforts

Blaze has spread over an area of eight to 10 kms at Koh-e-Suleman mountains range

Syed Ali Shah May 24, 2022
Fire at Koh-e-Suleman mountain range is raging. An army helicopter fills water from a river to douse the flame. Two Mi-17 helicopters participate in firefighting operations. PHOTOS: ISPR


An Iranian firefighting aircraft on Monday landed in Pakistan to join the efforts to put out the raging forest fire at Koh-e-Suleman mountains range, located at the junction of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and Balochistan.

Help from the neighbouring country to douse the flame came as authorities continued to battle the forest fire in the mountains range with the civil administration and the provincial and national disaster management authorities enlisting further help from the security forces.

A day earlier, the K-P government declared an emergency as the raging fire continued to spread. In a statement, Minister for Local Government Faisal Amin Khan said three people died and four others were injured after being trapped in the fire.

According to the Inter-Services Public Relations, Pakistan Army and FC Balochistan are assisting the civil government in the relief efforts. Two Mi-17 helicopters of Pakistan Army are participating in firefighting operations and dropping water and chemicals to control the fire whereas the paramilitary force has established relief and medical camps in the area.

Efforts are under way to protect the life and property of the locals from the fire which has spread over an area of eight to 10 kilometres.

The National Disaster Management Authority has provided firefighting suits, fire extinguishers, firefighting balls and Dicalcium Phosphate (DCP) chemical bags whereas Rescue 1122 teams, individuals of PDMA, and the forest department are also participating in the operation.

The forest fire has been spreading since May 18 in Balochistan's Sherani district. The fire has burnt down ancient pine trees and olive trees located in the dense ancient forest.

According to Attiqueur Rehman Kakar, a forest officer of the Balochistan government based in the area, the forest initially caught fire in the Mughal Kot area on May 9. However, the flames entered Balochistan on May 13.

It later further erupted in various spots of the Koh-e-Suleman Range, he added.

It has reduced millions of trees to ashes, inflicting billions of rupees losses on the local communities who are dependent on the harvest of pine nuts for generations.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2022.


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