Chitral forester dies while combatting wildfire

He leaves behind two sons

A 35-year-old forester Jamshid Iqbal died while combatting a forest fire in Chitral on August 19.

The blaze had erupted in Chumurkun-Gole Protected Forest Compartment No 1.

Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted about his death. He remarked that the forester embraced Shahadat in the line of duty while fighting a forest fire. The PM termed the forest officer as one of the country's heroes "protecting our forests for a Green Pakistan."

Retired forest officer Muhammad Zubair, Iqbal's officer, said that his son had been serving the forest department for the last nine years. He shared that Iqbal leaves behind a widow and two sons.

"I thank the PM and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa CM for showing us support," he remarked, adding that the government should offer them a Shuhuda package for a better future of the brave officer's children.

Iqbal loved trees and he would often take care of trees planted on dangerous roads. "He loved nature," his father said.

According to the forest department, Iqbal was trying to douse the fire when he lost his balance at fell into a ditch. Rescue personnel were called to the site and they managed to retrieve his body.

Iqbal was laid to rest with full honours at his native village and Pakistan's flag was draped over his coffin. MNA Moulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali among others attended the funeral prayers.

The fire had erupted a few days ago and all forest officers were trying their best to curb the blaze.

One of the most common reasons for forest fires is friction among the branches because of dry and hot weather. Forests with pine trees, commonly found in the northern areas, have needle-like leaves that have a component of oil in them.

These leaves are volatile and can easily heat up. When a fire in forests such as these erupts, it’s very difficult to stop them because it spreads quickly.

Another reason can be cigarette butts. As per the wildlife laws, anyone visiting a wildlife park or conservation area can’t keep cigarettes, lighters, or matches with them.

According to a report by the World Wildlife Fund, in 2020, the number of forest fires across the world increased by a record-breaking 13%. It stated that the increasing number of wildfires is caused by deforestation and climate change.


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