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Sunday, April 11, 2021

Uttarakhand: Forest minister holds fire-fighting ops for 2nd day

Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat has sought help from Union Home Minister Amit Shah and the Centre provided two MI-17 helicopters in fire fighting operation—one each deployed in Kumaon and Garhwal regions.

Written by Lalmani Verma | Dehradun |
Updated: April 7, 2021 4:40:32 am
In first six days of April, the state recorded 414 incidents of forest fires, which have damaged over 645 hectares, including over 400 hectares of reserve forests.

With wildfires raging across the state, Uttarakhand Forest and Environment minister Harak Singh Rawat on Tuesday carried out a fire-fighting operation in Lansdowne forest division.

On Monday, minister Rawat had carried out a similar operation in Pauri Garhwal district. Videos of him using a tree branch to douse the flames had gone viral on social media. Local forest staff too had rushed to the spot and joined the operation. A forest guard had sustained injuries in the operation.

On Tuesday, Rawat and his staff members ran a similar fire-fighting drive in Lansdowne forest division, on his way to Kotdwar, his Assembly constituency. Rawat also called on local residents to join the drive.

After the operation, Rawat said his initiative was aimed at raising the morale of forest officials and other staff engaged in fire-fighting operation.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Rawat said: “I have directed the senior forest officers also to tour the sites of fire to get aware with the ground situation and problems that field officials face in fire fighting operations. They will also take part in fire fighting and their videos and photographs will be shared among the staff to raise their morale.”

Explaining his use of a tree branch to douse flames on Monday, Rawat said it is an effective and traditional method to douse fires in hilly areas where heavy equipment in unavailable.

In first six days of April, the state recorded 414 incidents of forest fires, which have damaged over 645 hectares, including over 400 hectares of reserve forests.

Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat has sought help from Union Home Minister Amit Shah and the Centre provided two MI-17 helicopters in fire fighting operation—one each deployed in Kumaon and Garhwal regions.

While one helicopter, deployed in Kumaon region, could not fly for second consecutive day (on Tuesday) because of bad weather, the other one doused fires in Baaj, Kafal, Khirsu in Kirtinagar forest range on Tuesday in a three-and-a-half hour operation.

On prevailing wildfire scenario, minister Harak Singh Rawat said that over 1300 hectare area has affected the forest fire in current season so far. He said that public has been appealed to initiate for dousing wildfire in their nearby areas themselves instead of just waiting for the forest staff. Minister said that wildlife has also affected in the ongoing forest fire. Minister said that firefighting operation was going on war footing level.

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