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Widespread forest fire creates panic in Uttarakhand

Statesman News Service | Dehradun |

Forest fire continues to spread in different parts of Uttarakhand. With 1,048 recorded incidents this season, forest fire has created a challenging situation in the hill state where 2065.766 hectares of land have been affected.

Uncontrolled forest fire forced Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Rawat to conduct video conferencing with forest and district administration officers on Wednesday.

The CM asked the forest department officers about the preparation done for forest fire season and why their arrangements failed if the preparation were complete.

While the forest department looks at manpower and management, the villagers are looking at the sky for the rain god to show some mercy. The forest fire is man-made, occurring either due to negligence or are intentional in nature.

The CM expressed displeasure with the forest department’s move of releasing just the 50 per cent of the budget sanctioned for tackling forest fire. With the flames reached near, the academic activities of Central School, located in Pauri Garhwal, were suspended on Tuesday.

Uttarakhand forest department’s nodal officer for forest fire, BP Gupta said, “A total of 3,771 forest staff and 1,489 villagers are deployed in fire fighting this season. A record 368 incidents have been reported from Pauri, followed by 121 in Haridwar and 154 in Almora.”

Uttarakhand’s head of forest force, Jairaj, issued instructions to forest staff to maintain vigil. In his letter issued on 21 May, Jayraj asked not to sanction leave of any field staff.

The weather in many parts of Uttarakhand changed suddenly on Wednesday afternoon. Storm and lightning brought the temperature down in many parts of the hill state.