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Uttarakhand forest fires spread to 13 districts

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  1 May 2016 12:00 AM GMT

Dehradun, April 30: Over 1500 villages on Sunday were under threat from the raging forest fires in Uttarakhand, prompting the centre to deploy three teams of the tiol Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to bring the inferno under control.

Forest fires are raging in at least 50 locations of the state, threatening to destroy human life and property, according to a report.

On Friday night, scores of villagers had rushed outside their homes to prevent the advancing blaze from engulfing their houses, even as government rescue teams struggled to contain the fire.

Meanwhile, three teams of NDRF, comprising 135 personnel, have been deployed in the forests of Uttarakhand to bring the fire under control.

NDRF director general OP Singh said his personnel have already started work in the affected areas.

The request for NDRF personnel was made by the state administration on Friday.

Garhwal Inspector General of Police Sanjay Gunjyal reportedly said that while two NDRF teams have been deployed in Garhwal region, one has been sent to Kumaon, the worst hit areas.

Also, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) on Saturday sought information on fires in forests in Uttarakhand from the state government and assured all possible relief.

The forest fires in Uttarakhand have already destroyed nearly 1900 hectares of forest land in 13 districts since February.

"Three teams of NDRF comprising 135 personnel deployed to control fire in forests in Uttarakhand. The operation has begun," said Singh.

The NDRF teams are equipped with water tankers, floating pumps and medical setup to assist the rescue operation.

The teams will be posted at Almora, Pauri and Gauchar in Chamoli districts. Locals have been told to report a fire incident to the concerned district magistrate as soon as they spot it.

Pre-fire alerts listing possible fire points over the next seven days in forest areas are being made available on the forest department website.

Besides ravaging forests, the fire has killed four people, including two women, in Uttarkashi and a woman and her child in inital district.

Two others were reportedly burnt in separate incidents in inital and Chamoli districts.

Authorities had to close tiol Highway 58 that connects Badrith for hours on Thursday after the forest fire could not be controlled.

Governor K.K. Paul has asked officials to scale up operations to control the fire.He has ordered deployment of additiol staff and allocation of Rs. 5 crore to meet out the immediate fincial needs required to control the fires.

Deposed chief minister Harish Rawat has written to Paul urging him to declare Uttarakhand a 'forest fire-ravaged' state.

* IAF deploys 11-member team with Mi-17 helicopter to control the Uttarakhand forest blaze.
* 1,900 hectare of forest in 13 districts have been affected in Uttarakhand fire so far, six people killed.
* Uttarakhand Governor KK Paul holds meeting with district officials on forest fire through video-conferencing.

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