Lashkargah's worst forest fire brought under control
LASHKARGAH (PAN): The lack of firefighting equipment contributed to a fire burning out of control for four hours, gutting nearly half of a 300-acre (120-hectare) forest in southern Helmand province, an official said on Monday.
The fire began at 4pm on Sunday and destroyed 150 acres of forest along the Helmand River in the heart of the provincial capital, Lashkargah, the acting agriculture director, Jan Gul, told Pajhwok Afghan News on Monday.
Hundreds of residents joined firefighters and police battling the blaze which was finally put out at 8pm, he said, adding an investigation had been opened to determine the cause.
The official said the 50-year-old forest in Bolan had been a source of greenery and pleasant weather during the hot summer months. Gul said the forest used to have roads and orchards, but due to the lack of preservation efforts, those had been wiped out.
Gul said a major part of the forest was gutted because it was not doused in time because of a lack of fire extinguishing equipment.
The governor's office and some organisations had proposed the construction of roads, retaining walls and fire extinguishing equipment to deal with such incidents in future, the official said.
On Sunday, deputy police chief, Col. Kamaluddin Sherzai, said there were no casualties in the fire, but blamed the agriculture department for negligence in preserving forests.
A Lashkargah resident, Mohammad Sadiq, said it was the only forest adding beauty to the city.
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