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April 27, 2024

IAF Helicopter Battles Forest Inferno in Uttarakhand’s Nainital: Aerial Efforts to Quench Raging Fires

An IAF helicopter joined the battle against raging forest fires in Uttarakhand’s picturesque Nainital district as Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami announced intensified efforts to quell the flames. The situation escalated on Friday, with the fire encroaching upon the High Court Colony area in the Pines region, prompting urgent measures.

The MI-17 helicopter, equipped with a Bambi Bucket, swiftly collected water from Bhimtal lake and unleashed it over the burning forests spanning Pines, Bhumiadhar, Jyolikot, Narayan Nagar, Bhawali, Ramgarh, and Mukteshwar areas of the district. Dhami assured that all possible resources are being mobilized to control the inferno, emphasizing that the situation would soon be brought under control.

The gravity of the situation prompted Dhami to convene a meeting with forest officials in Haldwani to assess and strategize further action. Meanwhile, three individuals were apprehended in Rudraprayag on Friday attempting to ignite more fires, adding to the challenges faced by the firefighting teams.

Reports indicate that Friday alone saw 31 fresh incidents of forest fires across the state, devouring 33.34 hectares of forest land. The fire near Nainital posed a severe threat to the residents of High Court Colony, disrupting traffic in the area. Alongside the forest department, the Army has been roped in to assist in the firefighting efforts.

Anil Joshi, a resident of the affected Pines area and assistant registrar of the Uttarakhand High Court, recounted, “The fire reached an old, vacant house near The Pines on Friday. While it spared High Court Colony, it came dangerously close to the buildings, causing panic.”

In response to the escalating crisis, the district administration has imposed a ban on boating activities in Naini lake as a precautionary measure. Nainital Divisional Forest Officer Chandrashekhar Joshi reported the deployment of 40 Manora Range personnel and two forest rangers to combat the blaze on the ground.

Since November 1 of the previous year, Uttarakhand has witnessed a staggering 575 incidents of forest fires, ravaging 689.89 hectares of forest land and incurring a cost exceeding Rs 14 lakh to the state. The persistent threat of forest fires underscores the need for proactive measures to mitigate and prevent such disasters in the future

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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