Wildfires across five districts of KP—Swat, Shangla, Haripur, Lower Dir and Mohmand—have claimed the lives of four locals while ravaging the forestland in each of the districts. It has been more than 24 hours that the uncontrollable fire has been spreading, threatening more lives, green cover, livestock and countless ecosystems that thrive in these relatively untouched lands. Climate change is definitely a contributor but so is human activity like trash burning, crop burning and general carelessness. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has its hands full with devising a strategy to control the fire, implement preventative policies and raise awareness about the effects of such incidents.

Just recently, parts of the Koh-e-Suleman mountain range were caught on fire and remained so for over 10 days, completely devastating 30 percent of the pine-nut forest, displacing 4000 people, and killing three people as a result. It took the combined resources of the NDMA and an air tanker from Tehran to control the situation. It seems as though we may follow a similar trajectory with the current fires in KP. Already, the forest department has employed the help of Rescue 1122, civil defense and local volunteers to control and douse the fire. Respectfully so, the federal government has also offered to send aerial aid to the region of Swat first to maximise the chances of success. The hope is that it will be put out before the effects become too dire to deal with.

About what led the wildfire to occur and spread; the best guess is that the fire had broken out in some bushes after which the dry heat and wind caused it to spread across the area. An investigation is being launched to determine what led to this event so that preventive measures can be put in place to the best of abilities.

Usually, breakouts can happen when extreme heat turns grass and shrubs into tinder which catches fire almost instantaneously. Any error on part of a human, or a natural phenomenon like lightning, can cause it to transform into a wildfire. Regardless of this, the authorities must acknowledge that this is becoming a trend and there is an immediate need to devise a proactive strategy for these destructive wildfires.