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CDA’s Environment Wing reviews SOPs for forest fire control

ISLAMABAD: The Capital Development Authority’s (CDA) Environment Wing has reviewed and finalised the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for forest fire control.According to a statement, the SOPs include fire prevention measures, establishment of fire control substations, establishment of a control room, appointment of duty officers, establishment of fire pickets, patrolling, fire fighting, aerial fire control, and post fire operation. The fire prevention measures include cleaning of fire lines, trails and paths, fixing and repairing of signboards, coordination with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Himalayan Wildlife Foundation, procedure for assistance of village communities, patrolling of frequently visited spots such as Daman-e-Koh, Pir Sohawa, trails and picnic spots, and regularly watching and instructing visitors not to throw live cigarette, burning match or make any fire, cooking, heating etc, coordination with KP and Punjab Forest Departments if fire is detected in Hazara and Punjab’s forests. A control room would immediately inform the concerned conservator and divisional forest officer on the telephone. The deputy director (forest) would follow up the matter subsequently in case of any mishap.The establishment of a fire control substation includes establishment of a fire substation at Dara Jangla in the Margalla Hills. The fire vehicle of a fire brigade with a Crew along with the forest fire picket’s staff of the Environment Directorate would be on duty round the clock, and a squad of 50 firemen of Directorate of Emergency and Disaster Management would be available at the headquarter to assist the forest fire control whenever required. The control room would remain operative round the clock on telephone no 2855513 and wireless base station. One forest guard would be on duty round the clock at the control room. One deputy director would act as a fire control duty officer on daily basis under proper duty roaster, and a duty officer would be fully responsible for prevention, detection, fire fighting, and coordination of the fire control operation. 33 fire pickets in the Margalla Hills National Park, including one observatory with binocular at Shakarparian have since been set up and the staff is posted round the clock in two shifts. All fire pickets would be connected with a control room through wireless. Fire picket’s staff would remain on duty round the clock.Intensive patrolling of the area would be organised round the clock. For this purpose, four vehicles would remain at the disposal of the duty officer. One vehicle would be assigned to Bhara Kahu Range, one for Siniari Block, one for Chowki, and one for the control room. Pedestrian patrolling of the picket’s staff would be carried out in their respective areas. In case of fire, the fire picket near the fire site would immediately proceed for fire fighting. The picket Incharge would convey his onsite observations about the extent, location, and other features of the fire to the control room. After the control of fire, the staff would not vacate the area immediately and would remain there for complete mop-up and watch. The duty officer would ensure that no chances of rekindling of fire are left. The fire affected area would be thoroughly inspected and a complete fire report would be submitted to the higher officials.

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