Chilgoza forests are mixed with other coniferous trees that are spread across the dry temperate climate zone of Pakistan. These forests hold great importance from both ecological and economic perspectives. Economic significance includes products like chilgoza nuts, medical plants, honey and another biodiversity. These forests are also crucial for local livelihoods.
The fire that erupted on May 9 has consumed numerous trees of Koh e Suleman causing severe devastation to the Chilghoza forest, responsible for producing the country's 650 metric tons of pine nuts annually. Fire has affected at least 10,500 acres of forest. In addition to environmental destruction, three people have reportedly died, and many villagers and wildlife were displaced due to the wildfire.
Initially, Local authorities and media paid little heed to wildfire, thus miscalculating the intensity and severity of fire to expand, owing to high-velocity winds that resulted in its widespread. Initial speculations suggested that arsonists kindled fire on the bidding of the timber mafia. However, the exact cause is yet to be disclosed as people's recent drought and unawareness is also to blame.
The National and Provincial Disaster Management Authorities, local communities, and Pakistan Army worked collectively to put out the fire. After their arduous efforts and particularly help acquired from Iranian firefighting aircraft, claiming it to be the biggest in the world with the capacity to carry 50,000 litres of water which can release precisely on target. With these collective efforts, the fire was finally extinguished on Tuesday.
According to officials, Research teams are yet to ascertain the full-scale damage done by these wildfires. However, at least 30 per cent of forest trees have succumbed to fire. The region also houses different animal species that have consequently become under threat. The trees also belonged to different tribes of the area, and their livelihood depended on them heavily. Although Relief and Rehabilitation programs are underway, the whole event had a devastating impact on Pakistan's already struggling economy and harsh climate.