Inferno depletes massive forest cover at Shikargah, Aripal, Satura, Zoustan
Massive fire engulfed Shikargah , Aripal, Zoustan and Satura forest areas in south Kashmir’s Tral area on Saturday, witnesses told Greater Kashmir.
They said continuous fire has destroyed the massive forest cover here for the past many days while concerned officials have turned a blind eye. Locals fear that fire may spread to their houses as they are living a dreadful life. “This is sixth forest fire incident during a month. We fear it may engulf residential areas also,” said Abdul Ahad a local.
Sources said that the fire, which is blazing in Zoustan area since Friday morning, could spread to residential areas if it is not controlled quickly. “We fear our animals may die as the fodder which lies on forest trees may destroy by fire anytime,” said Muhammad Shaban, a local.
Meanwhile, Fire and Emergency official told that they have reached the area to douse the forest fire but failed as fire has erupted in upper hilly area where firefighters and fire dousing vehicles cannot reach.
Villagers at Khangund area said the wildlife department was unable to douse the fire till late evening. They added that such incidents occur due to dry spell and particularly when people prepare charcoal for winters and leaving ashes on the dry forest surface. “Fire has caused major loss to our resources and concerned departments are pleading helplessness to control the fire,” said Kar Ashfaq chairman civil society Tral.
Meanwhile, wildlife warden Shopian, Ifshan Dewan while talking to Greater Kashmir said: “I have reached Shikargah area whereas officials and firefighting team of wildlife department is trying to douse the forest fires across Tral.”
She added that prolonged dry spell has led to fire spreading to various compartments.
Asked about the delay in dousing forest fires she replied that there is lack of modern fire fighting equipments.
Kashmir is witnessing massive forest fires for many months whereas the cabinet which met on Friday approved revision in the sale rates of various coniferous species of Timber in A, B and C Concession zones for the year 2016-17.