Wildfires burn over 14000 acres of forest in Swat in three weeks

The massive wildfires have burned down over 14000 acres of forest cover during the last three weeks.

Besides dry weather conditions, many of the fires were set intentionally by the locals to be benefited by a centuries-old law that allows, them share the ownership of forests with the government.

“Shamlat” or the law of joint property, which was introduced by the powerful Yusufzai tribe when they captured the Swat valley in the 16th century, allows the local communities to share the ownership of forests with the government.

The law had also been adopted by Pakistan with some amendments in 1960.

Currently, 70 percent of the forests in Swat fall under the Shamilat law, whereas the remaining 30 percent are either in the state’s control or privately owned.

The latest Forest Department report says that over 210 wildfires have been reported in Swat, Shangla and Buner districts, of which 55 were started intentionally by the local people.

The Swat valley attracts millions of tourists every year because of its snow-capped peaks, glistening blue lakes, lush green plateaus and thick forests. Last year, nearly two million people visited the valley.

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