Nainital forest fires: 8 new fires, firefighting efforts intensify with IAF helicopter and more | 10 updates

Uttarakhand Forest Fires: The ongoing firefighting operation in Uttarakhand's forests, aided by an Indian Air Force helicopter, continued for the second day. Eight new forest fires were reported, consuming 11.75 hectares of land.

Jocelyn Fernandes
Updated29 Apr 2024
Forest fire raging in Ranibagh area of Uttarakhand’s Nainital district on Saturday night.
Forest fire raging in Ranibagh area of Uttarakhand’s Nainital district on Saturday night.(Hindustan Times)

Uttarakhand Forest Fires: An ongoing firefighting operation aided by an Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopter persisted for the second consecutive day on Sunday in Uttarakhand's forests, officials confirmed to PTI.

The state documented eight new forest fires within the last day, consuming 11.75 hectares of land. The previous day saw 23 incidents, which ravaged 34.175 hectares, as stated in the forest department's daily report, it added.

Since November 1, 2023, Uttarakhand has logged a total of 606 forest fires, resulting in the destruction of 735.815 hectares of forest land, according to the bulletin.

Kumaon's Chief Conservator of Forest, Prasanna Kumar Patro, said no significant fires had erupted in the forests in the past 24 hours.

Here are the Top 10 Updates on the Forest Fires so far

— The firefighting operation in Uttarakhand's forests with the aid of an Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopter persisted for the second consecutive day on Sunday (April 28), officials reported. 

— The Indian Air Force has deployed a Mi-17 V5 helicopter equipped with a Bambi bucket, capable of carrying 5,000 litres of water, to douse flames in Nainital and surrounding areas, according to official sources.

— The state witnessed eight new forest fires in the past 24 hours, consuming 11.75 hectares of land. This is a decline from the 23 incidents that occurred from Friday to Saturday (April 26-27), which damaged 34.175 hectares, as per the forest department's daily bulletin.

— Since November 1, 2023, Uttarakhand has recorded 606 forest fires, resulting in the destruction of 735.815 hectares of forest land. No significant fires emerged in the forests over the last 24 hours, stated Kumaon's Chief Conservator of Forest, Prasanna Kumar Patro.

— Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami met with Kumaon Division officials to discuss forest fires and instructed them to tackle it effectively. Dhami directed officers to stay alert and restricted forest officers from taking leave. He also advised against calling officers to Dehradun for meetings until the fires are under control. Earlier, he surveyed the affected areas by air and stated that efforts from the administration and officials are helping to manage the fires.

— In the Kumaon region, fires persist at two to three locations in Nainital district and one each in Champawat, Almora, Pithoragarh, and Bageshwar, according to Patro. Efforts are underway to extinguish fires in other areas, with ongoing firefighting operations aimed at prompt control, he assured.

— The recent surge in forest fires in Kumaon is attributed to heightened dryness caused by a heat wave in Champawat and Nainital districts, bordering Nepal.

— Intensified efforts are directed towards extinguishing ongoing fires and preventing fresh incidents in the worst-affected areas, including Nainital, Haldwani, and Ramnagar forest divisions. The involvement of various stakeholders, including the Indian Air Force, Army personnel, Prantiya Rakshak Dal volunteers, and homeguard personnel, has been pivotal in the firefighting operations, as highlighted by Kumaon Commissioner Deepak Rawat. 

— Additional government vehicles have been allocated to expedite the deployment of firefighting teams to affected regions. Locals, along with forest panchayat officials, are actively engaged in firefighting efforts, serving as first responders. 

— Forest department personnel are conducting awareness campaigns in hillside villages to educate residents about forest fire prevention measures, stated Garhwal DFO Anirudh Swapnil. Stringent actions will be taken against those found responsible for setting fires, with rewards offered to individuals reporting such violations.

(With inputs from PTI)

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