Daily fires make Pakistan a ‘fire fighting’ nation, forest fire SOPs finalized

Islamabad: Over the past two weeks, incidents of wildfires are on the rise in Pakistan and except Sindh, almost all provinces and the federal capital have reported fires in their reserves causing huge loss to natural life and habitat.

Given the recent fires across the country, a climate change task force has been set up to coordinate climate-related actions as soon as possible. All chief secretaries of provinces and senior officials in Pakistani-administered Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan (GB) are members of the body which first met at the Prime Minister’s House and prepared operational procedures standard (SOP) for the prevention and control of forest fires.

The SOPs include measures related to risk reduction, prevention and immediate response to low and high intensity forest fires for federal and provincial authorities.

“A period of prolonged heat aggravating the fires”

These fires have been aggravated by long heat waves across the country, particularly in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Margalla Hills in Islamabad. Some forest areas of Rawalpindi district in Punjab have also been affected by these fires.

Elevating all wildfires to disaster level, which can trigger responses from the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), is also part of the protocols. prevention and intervention actions.

‘Installation of watchtowers’

Additionally, setting up guard towers with staff during fire season, clearing fire lines for flammable materials will also reduce the risk of wildfires.

The creation of fire pits, the involvement of local communities and the establishment of control rooms in all forest fire areas in all provinces with communication networks, equipment and personnel are among the SOPs prepared for fire prevention and control.

“The House is Burning”

Federal Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman at a reception to mark Sweden’s National Day said provincial and federal wildlife departments, as well as local civil and administrative departments, were busy battling the fires “right now as I speak”.

We are a firefighting nation, she said, and deal with three or four fires daily.

The Pakistani people owe it to their bravery because despite their under-equipment and difficult terrain, they risked their lives and fought against the fires.

“We must salute them as they are our real heroes,” said Sherry Rehman while highlighting the grave challenge of the fires that have devastated the forests of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Balochistan and the Margalla Hills in Islamabad.

“Cooperation with Sweden is essential to reduce the carbon risk”

Sherry Rehman, who recently attended the Stockholm+50 meetings on behalf of the G-77 and China, congratulated Swedish Ambassador Henrik Persson on Sweden’s National Day.

The day also marked Sweden’s historic achievement to become the world’s first nation without fossil fuels. Pakistan needs lessons learned from Sweden and also seeks wider collaboration with the country in climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies, she said.

She also thanked Sweden’s leaders for “remembering Pakistan at a time of COVID-19-induced inequalities. The vaccines you gave have helped to help our people and lift us out of a difficult and difficult time, she said.

Comments are closed.