Dehradun: With major fires blighting around 1,900 hectares of forests in Uttarakhand, the government on Saturday decided to press two MI-17 helicopters into service as NDRF, SDRF and Army personnel struggled to douse the flames which have claimed six lives till now.
A total of 1890.79 hectares of green cover have been destroyed this fire season which had an early start on 2 February due to a dry winter.
Chamoli, Pauri, Rudraprayag, Tehri, Uttarkashi, Almora, Pithoragarh and Nainital are the worst-affected districts.
While three NDRF teams and one SDRF company are busy dousing the flames in different parts of the state, two IAF choppers have been sent to Nainital and Pauri districts, among the worst hit, to spray water over the burning jungles, Raj Bhawan officials in Dehradun said.
Enough funds have been made available to all affected districts besides required personnel and equipment to deal with any situation, they said.
“One MI-17 chopper has been stationed at Bhimtal near Nainital right which is being loaded with water collected from the waterbodies in the area and begin spraying water over affected areas from tomorrow,” Chief Secretary Shatrughna Singh said.
Another IAF chopper sent to Pauri will operate in similar fashion, a Raj Bhawan official said.
With forest fires still raging three NDRF teams have been deployed in Almora, Gauchar and Pauri and one team of SDRF in Nainital to extinguish the flames, Principal Conservator of Forest BP Gupta said.