CDA yet to finalise plans to cope with incidents

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The city managers on Thursday claimed to have chalked out a strategy for coping with the fire incidents in the Margalla hills during the summer season. The fires cause a huge loss of trees every summer. According to the strategy, the national park area of the federal capital has been divided into four ranges where fire check posts will be established. This year, the first fire incident took place a few years back, before the summer season began.
Although the incident should have alarmed the Capital Development Authority (CDA) bosses into taking measures for preventing more fires, CDA sources say the Margalla Hills have not been made fire-proof.
According to a study conducted by the CDA, over 100 fires break out in the Margalla Hills every summer.
Another study conducted by the World Bank in 2004 revealed that there was no natural reason for the fires on the Margalla Hills and that they all were manmade. The study said the fires were caused by people cooking on the hills, throwing burning cigarette butts or matchsticks intentionally or unintentionally and to cover timber theft.
It recommended that at least one helicopter be allocated for keeping regular watch in the area. To handle the situation during the upcoming summer season, the environment officials also briefed CDA Chairman Farkhand Iqbal in this regard. Environment Department Member Mian Waheed-ud-Din told the CDA chairman that plans for the deployment of emergency and seasonal staff have been finalised. According to the plan, the forest personnel of the environment department will monitor the national park areas round the clock to cope with any untoward fire incidents.
The CDA chief said possible precautionary measures will be taken to protect the natural environment and expand the green cover. He stated that the eruption of fire incidents in the forest not only destroys costly trees and shrubs but also different species of animals, birds and reptiles that inhabit the park.